Drug 'Avandia' May Prevent Diabetes
Study Shows Drug Cut Diabetes Risk by 60%
WebMD News Archive
Millions at Risk continued...
In a related trial involving the same patient population, the blood pressure
drug Altace was not found to be effective for the prevention of diabetes. But
43% of the people who took the drug reverted to normal glucose levels by the
end of the study, compared with 38% of placebo-treated participants. These
results will be published in the upcoming issue of The New England Journal
Gerstein presented findings from both the trials in Copenhagen at the 42nd
annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. The
diabetes drug findings were also published in the Sept. 15 issue of the journal
The study was funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, in
conjunction with the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, which markets
Avandia, and King Pharmaceuticals, which markets Altace. GlaxoSmithKline is a
Avandia: Not All Good News
Not all the news from the Avandia trial was good, however. Fourteen of the
people treated with the drug developed heart failure (0.5%), compared with just
two people (0.1%) in the placebo arm of the study.
"Balancing both benefits and risks suggests that for every 1,000 people
treated with [Avandia] for three years, about 144 cases of diabeteswill
be prevented, with an excess of four to five cases of congestive heart
failure," the researchers wrote in The Lancet.
American Diabetes Association president Larry C. Deeb, MD, tells WebMD that
the finding means that the drug is not appropriate for all people at high risk
"This probably isn't the drug to use in patients who have multiple risk
factors for heart failure, and anyone with any risk factors should be monitored
closely while they are on it," he says.
Deeb points out that the reduction in diabetes risk reported by Gerstein and
colleagues is almost identical to that seen with modest changes in lifestyle in
a major, U.S. government-funded prevention trial.
People who took part in the Diabetes Prevention Program trial were asked to
eat less fat and fewer calories and to exercise for 30 minutes a day five days
a week. These lifestyle changes resulted in a 58% reduction in risk for getting
type 2 diabetes.