Pro- and Antiarrhythmic Actions of Sulfonylureas: Mechanistic and Clinical Evidence
Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
Sulfonylureas are the most commonly used second-line drug class for treating type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). While the cardiovascular safety of sulfonylureas has been examined in several trials and nonrandomized studies, little is known of their specific effects on sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and related serious arrhythmic outcomes. This knowledge gap is striking, because persons with DM are at increased risk of SCA. In this review, we explore the influence of sulfonylureas on the risk of serious arrhythmias, with specific foci on ischemic preconditioning, cardiac excitability, and serious hypoglycemia as putative mechanisms. Elucidating the relationship between individual sulfonylureas and serious arrhythmias is critical, especially as the diabetes epidemic intensifies and SCA incidence increases in persons with diabetes.