Diabetes drugs affect hearts of men, women differently

Widely used treatments for type 2 diabetes have different effects on the hearts of men and women, even as the drugs control blood sugar equally well in both sexes, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

In particular, the commonly prescribed diabetes drug metformin had positive effects on heart function in women but not in men, who experienced a shift in metabolism thought to increase the risk of heart failure.

'We saw dramatic sex differences in how the heart responds to the different therapies,' said senior author Robert J. Gropler, MD, professor of radiology. 'Our study suggests that we need to better define which therapies are optimal for women with diabetes and which ones are optimal for men.'

To the researchers