Drug Delays, Prevents Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes treatment Avandia delays or prevents diabetes in 60% of patients who have elevated blood sugar levels, according to a study published in the current issue of the journal Lancet, the Los Angeles Times reports.
For the study, researchers at McMaster University in Canada enrolled 5,269 people with moderately elevated blood sugar levels, a condition known as prediabetes, in 21 countries (Maugh, Los Angeles Times, 9/16). Patients for three years received either an eight-milligram daily dose of Avandia, known generically as rosiglitazone, or a placebo. All patients in the study also were counseled on healthy diets and lifestyle choices.
The researchers found that 11.6% of 2,365 patients given Avandia developed diabetes or died, compared with 26% of 2,634 patients who received placebos.
In addition, 50.5% of patients taking Avandia had their blood sugar levels return to normal, compared with 30.3% of the placebo group. The researchers found that 14 Avandia patients developed nonfatal heart failure, compared with two patients in the placebo group.
The study's authors wrote that the results "suggest that the addition of rosiglitazone to basic lifestyle recommendations substantially reduces the risk of developing diabetes by about two-thirds, offering a novel preventive approach that could be as, or more, effective and sustained than previously reported lifestyle approaches alone" (Whalen, Wall Street Journal, 9/16).
The study was partially funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Avandia manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (Marchione/Cheng, AP/Washington Post, 9/16).
Avandia costs $100 to $150 a month (Kotulak/Gorner, Chicago Tribune, 9/16).
Another portion of the study examined ramipril, which increases insulin production, as a preventive treatment. Researchers found that the drug helps reduce blood sugar levels to normal but does not delay diabetes onset.
Results will be published next month in the New England Journal of Medicine (Los Angeles Times, 9/16).
The study is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the study.
ABCNews' "World News Tonight" on Friday reported on Avandia (McKenzie, "World News Tonight," ABCNews, 9/15). A related ABCNews story is available online. Video of the segment is available online. Expanded ABCNews coverage of diabetes is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.