A common treatment for gout, the medication allopurinol, is to be tested in patients with type 1 diabetes to see if it can prevent or delay the onset of diabetic kidney disease.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota are recruiting 480 patients with type 1 diabetes that are at increased risk of developing kidney disease. The study will last 42 months with participants randomly assigned to take either allopurinol or a placebo pill.
Diabetic kidney disease (nephropathy) is one the most common complications of diabetes. To date, the primary methods for preventing kidney disease have been to keep blood glucose and blood pressure levels as close to normal as possible. If the use of allopurinol is shown to be successful, it would present another means, in addition to blood glucose and blood pressure control, to hold back nephropathy.
Allopurinol helps to reduce levels of uric acid and preliminary studies have shown it have potential in preventing kidney disease. Another advantage of the drug is that it has been used in humans, for the treatment of gout, for around 50 years and therefore its safety is well known and it is cheap.
Whilst the study will review the use of the treatment in type 1 diabetes, it also has potential for preventing kidney disease in type 2 diabetes as well.

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