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New diabetes drugs solidify their cardiovascular and renal benefits



  • High cost, with prices that run close to $20/day for each medication.
  • A thicket of names and choices that “lead to confusion and paralysis,” which has been exacerbated by “advertising wars” among competing drug companies.
  • Cardiologists and primary care physicians usually defer to endocrinologists to prescribe these drugs, but most patients with T2DM aren’t seen by endocrinologists. The result: “Few doctors prescribe them.”

The cardiovascular disease benefits of these drugs have not been adequately promoted. Until that changes, “cardiologists like me will not realize their importance,” Dr. Becker concluded.

While christening the new diabetocardiology subspecialty, Dr. Braunwald placed the onus for managing this emerging facet of diabetes largely outside the scope of endocrinology.

“We can’t call in a consultant every time we have a patient with diabetes; it would bankrupt the system,” he said. Training of cardiologists now needs to include several months of treating patients with diabetes, Dr. Braunwald advised, just like 30 or so years ago when cardiologists like himself had to become more familiar with blood clotting to better manage thrombotic disease.

Dr. Braunwald has been a consultant to Cardurion, Myokardia, and Sanofi; an advisor to Endcardia; and has received research funding from AstraZeneca, Daiishi Sankyo, and Novartis. Dr. Butler has been a consultant or advisor to AstraZeneca, Amgen, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Janssen, Merck, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi. Dr. Verma has received honoraria and research funding from Abbott, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Janssen, Merck, Novartis, NovoNordisk, Sanofi, and Valeant. Dr. McMurray has received research funding from 12 companies. Dr. Becker had no disclosures.

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