This site is intended for healthcare professionals only
News
Share this article

Warfarin increases risk of serious hypoglycaemia when taken with sulfonylureas

Taking the blood thinner warfarin in conjunction with sulfonylureas has been found to increase the risk of hospitalisation for hypoglycaemia in a large study of Medicare recipients in the US.

Taking the blood thinner warfarin in conjunction with sulfonylureas (SUs) has been found to increase the risk of hospitalisation for hypoglycaemia in a large study of Medicare recipients in the US.

This retrospective cohort analysis identified 71 895 people who received prescriptions both for warfarin and for the second-generation SUs glipizide or glimepiride. Compared with 394 023 people who received SUs only, the rate of hospitalisation for hypoglycaemia was significantly higher (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.22; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05–1.42).

Combination therapy was also associated with a higher rate of hospitalisation for fall-related fractures, (OR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.41–1.54) and altered consciousness or mental status (OR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.16–1.29).

The authors recognise that, as that all their participants were aged ≥65 years, their findings may not be generalisable to younger populations. Notwithstanding this limitation, they conclude that there is a significant interaction between warfarin and SUs. Although several clinical drug databases note that such an interaction may occur, healthcare professionals are not routinely alerted when people with type 2 diabetes on SUs start treatment with warfarin.

While the authors believe that warfarin remains safe to prescribe in people who are receiving SUs, they recommend that such patients should be closely monitored, especially when starting on the new treatment.

The study can be read in full in the BMJ here.

Related content
Breastfeeding associated with lower CVD risk in high-risk women
;
Free for all UK & Ireland healthcare professionals

Sign up to all DiabetesontheNet journals

 

By clicking ‘Subscribe’, you are agreeing that DiabetesontheNet.com are able to email you periodic newsletters. You may unsubscribe from these at any time. Your info is safe with us and we will never sell or trade your details. For information please review our Privacy Policy.

Are you a healthcare professional? This website is for healthcare professionals only. To continue, please confirm that you are a healthcare professional below.

We use cookies responsibly to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your browser settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website. Read about how we use cookies.