Takeda has recorded another victory in the thiazolidinedione wars after yet more new data has emerged which suggests that the firm’s diabetes drug Actos is associated with a much lower risk of heart attack than GlaxoSmithKline’s rival product Avandia.

The Japanese drugmaker said that new research, including two studies presented at European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting in Amsterdam further support the cardiovascular safety of Actos (pioglitazone) and its benefits regarding improved blood glucose and lipid levels for patients with type 2 diabetes. They also “reinforce the consistency of Actos data” and the different effects it has from GSK’s thiazolidinedione Avandia (rosiglitazone) due to differences in molecular structure.

The first study, a retrospective analysis of case records from a large managed care database of diabetes patients, revealed that the adjusted relative risk of stroke for the Actos group was 20% lower than the group not receiving pioglitazone. Likewise, the risk of heart attack over the study period was 38% lower. More of interest, perhaps, was the second study, called GLAI, involved an analysis of data from the first three months of a six-month head-to-head study of Actos and Avandia.

The study demonstrated that initial treatment with a starting dose of pioglitazone (30mg) was more effective than a starting dose of Avandia (4mg) in improving blood glucose and lipid levels. Also, researchers found that in addition to lowering HbA1c significantly more than rosiglitazone, Actos also significantly decreased triglyceride levels and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and markedly improved HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol levels versus rosiglitazone.

Takeda claimed that the data presented at EASD “add weight to a growing body of evidence including recent findings from a large retrospective cohort trial published in the Journal of Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, which showed that Actos is associated with a 22% relative risk reduction of hospitalisation for acute myocardial infarction in patients with

type 2 diabetes compared to Avandia.

In addition, Takeda said that they correlate with findings from a recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which demonstrated that pioglitazone reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke or death by 18%.