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Stroke. 2007 Sep;38(9):2526-30. Epub 2007 Aug 2.

Sulfonylureas improve outcome in patients with type 2 diabetes and acute ischemic stroke.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Center for Stroke Research, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.



The sulfonylurea receptor 1-regulated NC(Ca-ATP) channel is upregulated in rodent models of stroke with block of the channel by the sulfonylurea, glibenclamide (glyburide), significantly reducing mortality, cerebral edema, and infarct volume. We hypothesized that patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus taking sulfonylurea agents both at the time of stroke and during hospitalization would have superior outcomes.


We reviewed medical records of patients with diabetes mellitus hospitalized within 24 hours of onset of acute ischemic stroke in the Neurology Clinic, Charité Hospital, Berlin, Germany, during 1994 to 2000. After exclusions, the cohort comprised 33 patients taking a sulfonylurea at admission through discharge (treatment group) and 28 patients not on a sulfonylurea (control group). The primary outcome was a decrease in National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale of 4 points or more from admission to discharge or a discharge National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score of 0. The secondary outcome was a discharge modified Rankin Scale score < or =2.


No significant differences, other than stroke subtype, were observed among baseline variables between control and treatment groups. The primary outcome was reached by 36.4% of patients in the treatment group and 7.1% in the control group (P=0.007). The secondary outcome was reached by 81.8% versus 57.1% (P=0.035). Subgroup analyses showed that improvements occurred only in patients with nonlacunar strokes and were independent of gender, previous transient ischemic attack, and blood glucose levels.


Sulfonylureas may be beneficial for patients with diabetes mellitus with acute ischemic stroke. Further investigation of similar cohorts and a prospective randomized trial are recommended to confirm the present observations.

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