Sulfonylureas May Affect Lipids in Type 2 Diabetes

(HealthDay News) — For patients with type 2 diabetes, sulfonylureas seem to increase levels of free fatty acids and triglycerides and lower LDL and HDL, according to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine.

Yue-hong Chen, MD, 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 type 2 diabetes. Data were included from 52 randomized controlled trials.

Results showed that sulfonylureas correlated with a statistically significant increase in the levels of free fatty acids (standardized mean difference=0.24) and triglycerides (mean difference [MD]=0.06), and correlated with decreases in HDL and LDL cholesterol (MD=–0.07 and –0.11, respectively). 

The sulfonylureas had no effect on total cholesterol, apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1), and apolipoprotein B (ApoB; MD=0.01, 0.01 and −0.01, respectively). 

Sulfonylureas increased total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol compared with metformin, increased total cholesterol and lowered HDL cholesterol compared with glinides, and reduced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and increased triglycerides compared with thiazolidinediones.

“Sulfonylureas have a small effect on lipids, although they may statistically increase the level of [free fatty acids] and [triglycerides], and decrease LDL and HDL cholesterol,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Chen YH et al. J Evid Based Med. 2015;doi:10.1111/jebm.12157.