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Impaired renal function modifies the risk of severe hypoglycaemia among users of insulin but not glyburide: a population-based nested case-control study

Weir MA, Gomes T, Mamdani M, Juurlink DN, Hackam DG, Mahon JL, Jain AK, Garg AX. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2011; 26(6):1888-94. Epub 2010 Oct 25.


Background — Little evidence justifies the avoidance of glyburide in patients with impaired renal function. This study aimed to determine if renal function modifies the risk of hypoglycaemia among patients using glyburide.

Methods — Conducted a nested case-control study using administrative records and laboratory data from Ontario, Canada. Included outpatients 66 years of age and older with diabetes mellitus and prescriptions for glyburide, insulin or metformin. Ascertained hypoglycaemic events using administrative records and estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFR) using serum creatinine concentrations.

Results — From a cohort of 19,620 patients, we identified 204 cases whose eGFR was ≥60mL/min/1.73m2(normal renal function) and 354 cases whose eGFR was <60mL/min/1.73m2 (impaired renal function). Compared to metformin, glyburide is associated with a greater risk of hypoglycaemia in patients with both normal [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 9.0, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 4.9–16.4] and impaired renal function (adjusted OR 6.0, 95% CI 3.8–9.5). We observed a similar relationship when comparing insulin to metformin; the risk was greater in patients with normal renal function (adjusted OR 18.7, 95% CI 10.5–33.5) compared to those with impaired renal function (adjusted OR 7.9, 95% CI 5.0–12.4). Tests of interaction showed that among glyburide users, renal function did not significantly modify the risk of hypoglycaemia, but among insulin users, impaired renal function is associated with a lower risk.

Conclusions — In this population-based study, impaired renal function did not augment the risk of hypoglycaemia associated with glyburide use.

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Keywords: Kidney and urinary tract disorders

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