Millions of Britons with type 2 diabetes may be at increased risk of cardiac arrest when taking certain commonly prescribed medications, a study suggests.
Researchers in the Netherlands found that those taking antibiotics, anti-nausea medications and antipsychotics were twice as likely to experience the event – when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body.
This was the case even in patients who had no history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), they said.
While factors such as high blood pressure, smoking and lack of exercise are known to increase the risk of cardiac arrest, the risks involved with these medications are less known, researchers cautioned.
Researchers in the Netherlands found that those taking antibiotics, antipsychotics and prokinetics were twice as likely to experience the event – when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body. This was the case even in patients who had no history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), they said.
Diabetes is now a “rapidly increasing crisis” in the UK as the number of people with the disease is thought to have surpassed five million for the first time.
Researchers at Amsterdam UMC evaluated the GP records of 689 people with type 2 diabetes who suffered sudden cardiac arrest between 2010 and 2019.
Just over half (352) had a history of cardiovascular disease, while the remaining 337 did not.
The team compared them to the medical records of 3,230 controls: people without type 2 diabetes.
Some common medications, including a prokinetic drug called domperidone, an anti-nausea drug, antibiotics including marcolides and fluoroquinolones, as well as the antipsychotic haloperidol, have been found to increase the risk of cardiac arrest.
The researchers found that in those without CVD, taking antipsychotic medications increased their risk by 187 percent.
WHAT IS A CARDIAC ARREST?
Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood through the body, usually due to a problem with electrical signals in the organ.
This causes the brain to run out of oxygen, causing sufferers to not breathe and lose consciousness.
In the UK, there are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests a year, compared to more than 356,000 in the United States.
Cardiac arrests are different from heart attacks; The latter occur when the blood supply to the heart muscle is cut off due to a clot in one of the coronary arteries.
Common causes include heart attacks, heart disease, and inflammation of the heart muscle.
Drug overdose and loss of a large amount of blood can also be the causes.
Delivering an electrical shock through the chest wall using a defibrillator can get the heart working again.
Meanwhile, CPR can keep oxygen circulating through the body.
Meanwhile, the two antibiotics increased their risk by 66 percent.
Taking the prokinetic drug increased the risk of patients with type 2 diabetes suffering sudden cardiac arrest by 66 percent, regardless of whether they had a history of CVD.
Researchers say the effect is because these drugs prolong the heart’s QTc interval.
This is a measure of electrical activity related to the contraction of heart muscle cells.
Other factors that increased the risk of a fatal cardiac event included low blood sugar (150 percent), very high blood pressure (121 percent) and high cholesterol (64 percent).
The findings were presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Hamburg.
Commenting on the research, lead author Peter Harms, CVD researcher at UMC Amsterdam, said: “GPs will already be aware that classic cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, increase the risk of Sudden cardiac arrest in people with type 2 diabetes.
«However, the relationship between low fasting glucose levels and antibiotics, antipsychotics and prokinetics is less known.
“Our results underline the need for GPs to be aware of the dangers of overly strict glycemic control and prescribing commonly used antibiotics, antipsychotics and prokinetics.”
Glycemic control refers to maintaining blood glucose levels within desirable levels to prevent both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia: low and high blood sugar levels.
Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death.
According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the UK each year and only one in 10 patients survive.
Almost 4.3 million people were living with diabetes in 2021/22, the latest UK figures also show.
And another 850,000 people have diabetes and are completely unaware of it.
This has worried health officials, as untreated type 2 diabetes can lead to complications such as heart disease and stroke.
About 90 percent of diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and is usually diagnosed in middle age, rather than type 1 diabetes, a genetic condition that is usually identified early in life.
Type 2 diabetes increases an individual’s risk of a variety of complications, including heart attacks and strokes, kidney problems, and cancer.
WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES?
tType 2 diabetes is a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.
More than 4 million people in the UK are thought to suffer from some form of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight and you are more likely to get it if it runs in your family.
The condition means that the body does not react properly to insulin, the hormone that controls the absorption of sugar into the blood, and cannot properly regulate blood glucose levels.
Excess fat in the liver increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as the accumulation makes it difficult to control glucose levels and also makes the body more resistant to insulin.
Weight loss is the key to reducing liver fat and controlling symptoms.
Symptoms include tiredness, thirst, and frequent urination.
It can cause more serious problems with your nerves, vision, and heart.
Treatment usually involves changing your diet and lifestyle, but more severe cases may require medication.
Source: NHS Options; Diabetes.es