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Original Contribution
July 28, 2010

Risk of Acute Myocardial Infarction, Stroke, Heart Failure, and Death in Elderly Medicare Patients Treated With Rosiglitazone or Pioglitazone

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, US Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland (Drs Graham and Ouellet-Hellstrom); Stanford University, Stanford, California (Dr MaCurdy); Acumen LLC, Burlingame, California (Dr MaCurdy, Ms Ali, and Mr Sholley); and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Washington, DC (Mr Worrall and Dr Kelman).

JAMA. 2010;304(4):411-418. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.920

Context Studies have suggested that the use of rosiglitazone may be associated with an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events compared with other treatments for type 2 diabetes.

Objective To determine if the risk of serious cardiovascular harm is increased by rosiglitazone compared with pioglitazone, the other thiazolidinedione marketed in the United States.

Design, Setting, and Patients Nationwide, observational, retrospective, inception cohort of 227 571 Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years or older (mean age, 74.4 years) who initiated treatment with rosiglitazone or pioglitazone through a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan from July 2006-June 2009 and who underwent follow-up for up to 3 years after thiazolidinedione initiation.

Main Outcome Measures Individual end points of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), stroke, heart failure, and all-cause mortality (death), and composite end point of AMI, stroke, heart failure, or death, assessed using incidence rates by thiazolidinedione, attributable risk, number needed to harm, Kaplan-Meier plots of time to event, and Cox proportional hazard ratios for time to event, adjusted for potential confounding factors, with pioglitazone as reference.

Results A total of 8667 end points were observed during the study period. The adjusted hazard ratio for rosiglitazone compared with pioglitazone was 1.06 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.96-1.18) for AMI; 1.27 (95% CI, 1.12-1.45) for stroke; 1.25 (95% CI, 1.16-1.34) for heart failure; 1.14 (95% CI, 1.05-1.24) for death; and 1.18 (95% CI, 1.12-1.23) for the composite of AMI, stroke, heart failure, or death. The attributable risk for this composite end point was 1.68 (95% CI, 1.27-2.08) excess events per 100 person-years of treatment with rosiglitazone compared with pioglitazone. The corresponding number needed to harm was 60 (95% CI, 48-79) treated for 1 year.

Conclusion Compared with prescription of pioglitazone, prescription of rosiglitazone was associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart failure, and all-cause mortality and an increased risk of the composite of AMI, stroke, heart failure, or all-cause mortality in patients 65 years or older.