OBJECTIVE - To evaluate the association between the use of ACE inhibitors and hospital admission for severe hypoglycemia and to explore the effects of potential confounding variables on this relationship. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - The association between the use of ACE inhibitors and the incidence of hypoglycemia is controversial. A recent study reported that 14% of all hospital admissions for hypoglycemia might be attributable to ACE inhibitors. We performed a nested case-control study, using a cohort of 6,649 diabetic patients taking insulin or oral antidiabetic drugs, on the Diabetes Audit and Research in Tayside, Scotland (DARTS) database. From 1 January 1993 to 30 April 1994, we identified 64 patients who had been admitted to Tayside hospitals with hypoglycemia and selected 440 control patients from the same cohort. RESULTS - Hypoglycemia was associated with the use of ACE inhibitors (odds ratio [OR] 3.2, 95% CI 1.2-8.3, P = 0.023), whereas use of β-blockers and calcium antagonists was not associated with an increased risk of hospitalization for hypoglycemia with ORs of 0.9 (95% CI 0.3-3.3) and 1.7 (95% CI 0.2-2.1), respectively. There were significant differences between case and control patients in type of diabetes treatment, diabetes duration, place of routine diabetes care, and congestive cardiac failure. These differences did not confound the relationship between ACE inhibitors and hypoglycemia (adjusted OR 4.3, 95% CI 1.2-16.0). CONCLUSIONS - The results show that the association between ACE inhibitor therapy and hospital admission for severe hypoglycemia is not explained by these confounding factors. Although ACE inhibitors have distinct advantages over other antihypertensive drugs in diabetes, the risk of hypoglycemia should be considered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Advanced and Specialised Nursing