A new study by Canadian doctors in the medical journal Lancet has revealed that small doses of the diabetes drug Avandia, combined with metformin, can help prevent diabetes without the normal side-effects . It was found that taking half doses of the combination pill by GlaxoSmithKline reduced the risk that patients would progress from pre-diabetes, to full type 2 diabetes by two-thirds.
In the study of 207 patients with pre-diabetes, 14 per cent of those treated with the drugs developed diabetes after four years, compared to 39 per cent of those given a placebo. Dr. Bernard Zinman of Mount Sinai Hospital at the University of Toronto, said that the effect would probably be similar same with Avandia’s rival drug in the same class, Takeda’s Actos. This class of drugs is called thiazolidinediones, which help the body to better use insulin .
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body slowly loses its ability to respond to insulin, with overeating, not enough exercise and genetic factors all can play a role. As insulin starts working less and less well, glucose levels rise in the blood, which damages organs and blood vessels, and the beta cells in the pancreas also begin to be unable to make insulin.
Both Avandia and Actos are effective and have been known to prevent diabetes in some cases. However, they do have side effects, such as heart failure and fluid retention. Avandia and Actos will both soon be available generically.
The Food and Drug Administration in the US is examining data that Avandia can pose heart risks, as Glaxo admitted that they had settled further lawsuits that alleged Avandia caused heart attacks .

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