The U.S. government abruptly halted aggressive treatment in a major study of diabetes and heart disease after a surprising number of deaths occurred among patients who pushed their blood sugar to very low levels.
The 10,000-patient ACCORD was designed to investigate whether lowering blood sugar levels to below the current recommended target would help protect patients at high-risk of heart attack.
However, the study was halted 18 months early, following 257 deaths among aggressively treated patients, compared to only 203 among diabetics given more standard care. Although aggressively treated patients were actually less likely to suffer heart attacks, any heart attacks they did suffer were more likely to be fatal.
A close look at the multiple medications patients used, including the drug Avandia that is suspected of being a heart risk, showed no sign that any were to blame.