(HealthDay News) — For patients with type 2 diabetes and existing cardiovascular disease, albiglutide results in fewer cardiovascular events, according to a study published online Oct 2 in The Lancet to coincide with the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, held from Oct. 1 to 5 in Berlin.

Noting that in 2017, GlaxoSmithKline withdrew the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist albiglutide for commercial reasons, Adrian F. Hernandez, MD, from the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC, and colleagues presented the results from a randomized multicenter international trial involving albiglutide. Patients aged 40 years and older with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease were randomly assigned to receive a subcutaneous injection of albiglutide or a matched volume of placebo (4731 and 4732 patients, respectively).

The intention-to-treat population was followed for a median of 1.6 years for the primary outcome. The researchers found that the primary composite outcome (first occurrence of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke) occurred in 7 and 9% of patients in the albiglutide and placebo groups, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.78), indicating that albiglutide was superior to placebo (P<0.0001 for noninferiority; P=0.0006 for superiority).

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“Harmony-Outcomes was an important study for us to complete to generate new data and insights about the role of the GLP-1 receptor agonist class in the management of patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” John Lepore, MD, from GlaxoSmithKline, said in a statement. “We continue to explore opportunities to divest this medicine to a company with the right expertise and resources to realize its full potential for patients.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, which funded the study.

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Hernandez AF,Green JB, Janmohamed S, et al. Albiglutide and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (Harmony Outcomes): a double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. (published online Oct 2, 2018.)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32261-X

Mafham M and Preiss D. HARMONY or discord in cardiovascular outcome trials of GLP-1 receptor agonists? Lancet.