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Independents' Day

Possible role for glitazones in warding off diabetes

Glitazones may have a wider role than previously thought after researchers found the drugs could stave off diabetes in patients with impaired glucose tolerance.

Over three years, only 11.6 per cent of patients on rosiglitazone developed diabetes compared with 26 per cent of those on placebo.

The researchers calculated glitazone treatment could prevent 144 cases of diabetes for every 1,000 patients treated.

Their study – of 5,200 adults with impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance – found treatment also increased the chance of blood sugar levels returning to normal by 70 to 80 per cent.

But cardiovascular event rates were the same in both groups and heart failure cases higher with rosiglitazone, reported the Dream study, published online by The Lancet.

The study investigators said the preventive effect was the same as for basic lifestyle recommendations, and that together the interventions would reduce the risk of developing diabetes by about two-thirds.

Dr Colin Kenny, member of the Primary Care Diabetes Society steering committee and a GP in Dromore, County Down, said: 'Essentially the study confirms an observation in the Diabetes Prevention Study. It is useful to have another drug to use in the prevention of diabetes.' We do not have a mechanism of actively screening for impaired glucose tolerance at present.'

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