Diabetes drug could help treat atherosclerosis

Tue, 29 Nov 2011
A new study from the United States has claimed that the drug exenatide, which is marketed under the brand name Byetta, could inhibit the development of atherosclerosis. The drug, which is taken by some patients suffering from type 2 diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels, is believed to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect that could allows it to inhibit atherosclerosis, which is the primary reason for diabetics having heart attacks, strokes and gangrene.

The scientists, from the University of Buffalo, also found that exenatide achieved this effect independent of any weight loss, which in itself benefits inflammation. They examined 24 obese patients with type 2 diabetes that already used insulin to manage their blood sugar levels, finding that as well as reducing inflammation, there was a lowering of A1C haemoglobin levels from 8.6 per cent to 7.4 per cent.

Lead author on the study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Ajay Chaudhuri, commented "A short-lived anti-inflammatory effect was observed within two hours following a single injection of 5 micrograms of the drug."

He added "This coincides with the peak concentration of the drug after the injection. Such a rapid and dramatic effect is rare."

The team now hope to explore the possible use of the drug in reducing inflammation from a heart attack or stroke for patients in intensive care.
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