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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the comparative cardiovascular safety of incretin-based therapies in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). METHODS: Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Library and were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with duration≥12 weeks. Network meta-analysis was performed, followed by subgroup analysis and meta-regression. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation system was used to assess the quality of evidence. The outcome of interest was a composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, stroke and heart failure. Odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated as the measure of effect size. RESULTS: 281 RCTs (76.9% double-blinded) with 180,000 patients were included, comparing incretin-based therapies with other six classes of anti-diabetic drugs or placebo. A statistically significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular events was found in favour of GLP-1RAs when compared with placebo (OR 0.89, 95%CI: 0.80-0.99) and sulfonylurea (OR 0.76, 95%CI: 0.59-0.99), whereas DPP-4 inhibitors showed a neutral effect compared with placebo (OR 0.92, 95%CI: 0.83-1.01). CONCLUSIONS: Incretin-based therapies show similar cardiovascular risk in comparison with metformin, insulin, thiazolidinediones, alpha-glucosidase inhibitor and sodium-glucose co-transporter 2. GLP-1RA could decrease the risk compared with sulfonylurea or placebo, while DPP-4I appears to have neutral effect on cardiovascular risk.

Original publication




Journal article


Expert Opin Drug Saf

Publication Date





243 - 249


Incretin-based therapies, cardiovascular effect, network meta-analysis, type 2 diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Humans, Hypoglycemic Agents, Incretins, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Risk