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Impotence drug treats type 2 diabetes gene mutations, study suggests

Yohimbine, a drug used to counter impotence, may be able to help people with type 2 diabetes.
This is according to a study conducted by Swedish researchers, and published in Science Translational Medicine. Type 2 diabetes can be caused, at least in part, by a mutation of the gene alpha (2A)-AR that lowers insulin production, affecting around 40 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes. The research indicates that yohimbine improves insulin production and lowers blood sugar levels in these cases.
“If a diabetic patient carries the risk mutatio, he or she is more sensitive to stress hormones such as adrenaline,” said lead researcher Dr. Anders Rosengre, head of the translational diabetes research group at Lund University Diabetes Centre in Malmo. The increased adrenaline lowers insulin production.
Rosengren went on to explain that “It is like driving a car with the brakes constantly on. If you add yohimbine, you release the brake and the car – the insulin producing cells – can go at normal speed. The cells secrete adequate amounts of insulin in response to sugar.”
Despite this, Dr. Rosengren explained that, while gene mutations can affect the severity of type 2 diabetes, the disease is still triggered by lifestyle.
Furthermore, he stressed that lifestyle changes remain the most important factor in the management of type 2 diabetes.
Yohimbine also has a number of side effects. Some patients treated with the drug experienced stress, anxiety, and high blood pressure. Researchers are currently trying to decrease the risk of these side effects, while maintaining its benefits.

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