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Published on 8 June 2009

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Give heart drugs a chance to work

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Drugs on their own are just as effective as immediate angioplasty or bypass surgery in heart disease patients who also have diabetes, according to US research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

It reports that patients who have been advised to have angioplasty and a heart stent to restore blood flow and ease chest pain could safely wait and give drugs a chance to work.

However, those with more severe forms of the disease might be able to avoid a future heart attack if they have the surgery right away.

The study found no difference in heart risks between two type 2 diabetes treatments – increasing the amount of insulin or lowering the body’s resistance to its own insulin with drugs such such as rosiglitazone, which may raise the risk of heart attacks.

Says Dr Trevor Orchard of the University of Pittsburgh, whose study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine: “If you have diabetes and heart disease such that a bypass surgery is a recommended procedure, you should have that early rather than delaying it.”

Copyright Press Association 2009

New England Journal of Medicine



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