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Early Glycemic Control and Magnitude of HbA1c Reduction Predict Cardiovascular Events and Mortality: Population-Based Cohort Study of 24,752 Metformin Initiators

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OBJECTIVE: We investigated the association of early achieved HbA1c level and magnitude of HbA1c reduction with subsequent risk of cardiovascular events or death in patients with type 2 diabetes who initiate metformin.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: This was a population-based cohort study including all metformin initiators with HbA1c tests in Northern Denmark, 2000-2012. Six months after metformin initiation, we classified patients by HbA1c achieved (<6.5% or higher) and by magnitude of HbA1c change from the pretreatment baseline. We used Cox regression to examine subsequent rates of acute myocardial infarction, stroke, or death, controlling for baseline HbA1c and other confounding factors.

RESULTS: We included 24,752 metformin initiators (median age 62.5 years, 55% males) with a median follow-up of 2.6 years. The risk of a combined outcome event gradually increased with rising levels of HbA1c achieved compared with a target HbA1c of <6.5%: adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 1.18 (95% CI 1.07-1.30) for 6.5-6.99%, HR 1.23 (1.09-1.40) for 7.0-7.49%, HR 1.34 (1.14-1.57) for 7.5-7.99%, and HR 1.59 (1.37-1.84) for ≥8%. Results were consistent for individual outcome events and robust by age-group and other patient characteristics. A large absolute HbA1c reduction from baseline also predicted outcome: adjusted HR 0.80 (0.65-0.97) for Δ = -4, HR 0.98 (0.80-1.20) for Δ = -3, HR 0.92 (0.78-1.08) for Δ = -2, and HR 0.99 (0.89-1.10) for Δ = -1 compared with no HbA1c change (Δ = 0).

CONCLUSIONS: A large initial HbA1c reduction and achievement of low HbA1c levels within 6 months after metformin initiation are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events and death in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetes Care
Pages (from-to)800-807
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

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