Early Disease Detection

Drug Treats Diabetes Before It Starts

A feature on Time.com shared the results of a study that indicated that the drug pioglitazone, being sold as Actos, can be taken by people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, in order to prevent the onset of the disease. Pioglitazone is a drug commonly used for diabetes treatment.

diabetesExperts warn, however, that this should not be taken to mean that anyone whose blood sugar levels are high should start taking the medication.

Diabetes starts from impaired insulin sensitivity. For quite some time, doctors have been searching for medications or lifestyle changes that can delay the onset of full-blown diabetes for as long as possible – or prevent its onset altogether.

A study led by Dr. Ralph DeFronzo, at the Texas  Diabetes Institute and University of Texas Health Science Center, determined that pioglitazone can be a useful tool to help patients control their blood sugar levels, and prevent the onset of full-blown diabetes.

Researchers found that among more than 600 patients who had elevated blood sugar levels and at least one other risk factor for diabetes, only 2% of those who took pioglitazone developed diabetes, as opposed to 7.6% in those who only took placebo. The study, which had a 2-year follow-up period, saw a 72% reduction in risk for those who took pioglitazone.

The study authors were quick to warn, however, that the encouraging results of the study should not be considered as a reason to prescribe the drug to anyone with a high risk of developing diabetes.

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