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Diabetes and Endocrinology - Pharmacology - Radiology and Medical Imaging

Echocardiographic Evidence for Valvular Toxicity of Benfluorex: A Double-Blind Randomised Trial in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Author: Geneviève Derumeaux et al.

by Geneviève Derumeaux, Laura Ernande, André Serusclat, Evelyne Servan, Eric Bruckert, Hugues Rousset, Stephen Senn, Luc Van Gaal, Brigitte Picandet, François Gavini, Philippe Moulin, on behalf the REGULATE trial investigators


REGULATE trial was designed to compare the efficacy and safety of benfluorex versus pioglitazone in type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) patients.


Double-blind, parallel-group, international, randomised, non-inferiority trial. More than half of the 196 participating centres were primary care centres. Patients eligible had type 2 DM uncontrolled on sulfonylurea. 846 were randomised. They received study treatment for 1 year. 423 patients were allocated to benfluorex (150 to 450 mg/day) and 423 were allocated to pioglitazone (30 to 45 mg/day). Primary efficacy criterion was HbA1c. Safety assessment included blinded echocardiographic evaluation of cardiac and valvular status.


At baseline, patients were 59.1±10.5 years old with HbA1c 8.3±0.8%, and DM duration 7.1±6.0 years. During the study, mean HbA1c significantly decreased in both groups (benfluorex: from 8.30±0.80 to 7.77±1.31 versus pioglitazone: from 8.30±0.80 to 7.45±1.30%). The last HbA1c value was significantly lower with pioglitazone than with benfluorex (p<0.001) and non-inferiority of benfluorex was not confirmed (p?=?0.19). Among the 615 patients with assessable paired echocardiography (310 benfluorex, 305 pioglitazone), 314 (51%) had at least one morphological valvular abnormality and 515 (84%) at least one functional valvular abnormality at baseline. Emergent morphological abnormalities occurred in 8 patients with benfluorex versus 4 with pioglitazone (OR 1.99), 95% CI (0.59 to 6.69). Emergent regurgitation (new or increased by one grade or more) occurred more frequently with benfluorex (82 patients, 27%) than with pioglitazone (33 patients, 11%) (OR 2.97), 95% CI (1.91 to 4.63) and were mainly rated grade 1; grade 2 (mild) was detected in 2 patients with benfluorex and 3 with pioglitazone. There was no moderate or severe regurgitation.


After 1 year of exposure, our results show a 2.97 fold increase in the incidence of valvular regurgitation with benfluorex and provide evidence for the valvular toxicity of this drug.

Trial registration ISRCTN 27354239. isrctn27354239