(HealthDay News) — For patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), sulfonylureas seem to increase levels of free fatty acids (FFA) and triglycerides (TG) and lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), according to a meta-analysis published online June 4 in the Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine.

Yue-hong Chen, M.D., from Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to examine the effects of second- and/or third-generation sulfonylureas on the level of lipids in patients with T2DM. Data were included from 52 randomized controlled trials.

The researchers found that sulfonylureas correlated with a statistically significant increase in the levels of FFA (standardized mean difference = 0.24) and TG (mean difference [MD] = 0.06), and correlated with decreases in HDL-C and LDL-C (MD = −0.07 and −0.11, respectively). The sulfonylureas had no effect on total cholesterol, ApoA1, and Apo B (MD = 0.01, 0.01, and −0.01, respectively). Sulfonylureas increased total cholesterol and LDL-C compared with metformin, increased total cholesterol and lowered HDL-C compared with glinides, and reduced total cholesterol, LDL-C, HDL-C, and increased triglycerides compared with thiazolidinediones.

“Sulfonylureas have a small effect on lipids, although they may statistically increase the level of FFA and TG, and decrease LDL-C and HDL-C,” the authors write.

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