A study by Dundee University indicates that a drug that has previously been used to treat gout could be effective in reducing deaths from heart disease in people with type 2 diabetes.
Heart disease is a complication of diabetes and known to be a significant risk that is the cause of death for up to 65% of people with type 2 diabetes.
The research involved a 9 month study of 66 patients. Half the participants were given allopurinol and the other half was given a placebo. Measurements were taken of the thickness of the heart muscle wall in the patients at the start and end of the study.
Thickening of the heart muscle is known to lead to an increased risk of heart attacks and study results showed that the thickness of the heart muscle wall was significantly reduced amongst the group taking the gout drug.
Allopurinol is by no means a new drug and its usage dates back to the 1960s. The drug has been used to treat problems such as gout and to prevent growth of kidney stones but also has been shown to mildly reduce blood pressure in addition to reducing heart muscle thickening.
The medication is not without side effects, with skin reactions being relatively common amongst those taking the drug. However, having been used for decades, long term safety of the drug is known and the drug is also inexpensive.
Researcher Dr Jacob George is keen to test the drug on a larger population to further assess the effectiveness of the drug in people with type 2 diabetes.

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