A long-term Finnish study has found that metabolic syndrome, which is similar to pre-diabetic conditions, is associated with an increased risk of mortality cardiovascular disease. Pharmacological therapy targeting metabolic syndrome may reduce this associated risk, but this has yet to be demonstrated in clinical trials.
Analysis of data from the Kuopio Heart Disease Risk Factor Study was published in this week's issue of Journal of the American Medical Association. KHDRS is a prospective cohort study of 1,209 Finnish men, aged 40-60 and free of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, who were observed for an average of 11.4 years. The aim was to investigate metabolic syndrome (a condition characterized by glucose abnormalities, mild dyslipidemia, hypertension, and abdominal obesity).
Researchers analyzed the data from the completed study to determine mortality rates due to coronary heart disease (CHD), cardiovascular disease (CVD), and all other causes among men with and without metabolic syndrome, using definitions based on recommendations from the National Cholesterol Education Program and the World Health Organization.
The overall prevalence of metabolic syndrome ranged from 8.8% to 14.3% depending on the definition used. Subjects with metabolic syndrome were three to four times more likely to die of CHD, after adjustment for other cardiovascular risk factors, than those without the syndrome.
Based on this study and previous research, it seems clear that metabolic syndrome, which affects over 50 million adults in the US, is a future target for focused pharmacological intervention. Despite the potential, this market is in a very early stage of development with little clinical research geared towards the study of this population.
However, the pre-diabetic population, which shares many characteristics with metabolic syndrome, is being closely examined in a number of ongoing clinical trials involving GSK's Avandia and Novartis' Nateglinide and Diovan to examine the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Final results from these long-term trials are not expected before 2008, but may clarify the benefit of treating patients with metabolic syndrome.
Related reports: Datamonitor, "Strategic Perspectives: Metabolic Syndrome" (published 11/2002)
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