Canadian researchers are testing an aggressive approach in recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients with the aim of inducing remission.
Patients with type 2 diabetes who achieve remission can be free of medication providing improvements made to their metabolism – such as blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol – are maintained.
This new concept, known as the REMIT Study, is being tested by scientists at Lawson Health Research Institute. It will be led by the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI), a joint institute of Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University.
In a previous PHRI pilot study, 40 per cent of 83 patients with type 2 diabetes went into remissio, and didn’t require treatment for at least three months following early aggressive treatment.
In this new trial, which will be conducted at seven Canadian health sites, newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients will receive two drugs plus insulin at bedtime. This will last for three months.
Dr. Irene Hramiak, Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at St. Joseph’s Hospital – one of the sites taking part in the initiative – said: “It’s a proactive approach. The theory is that we should be aggressive with treatment early in the disease and that may slow the progression of the disease.”
There are several recommended treatments for type 2 diabetes, including diet and lifestyle changes, but in regard to medication, standard treatment typically involves a single drug to begin with.
“We don’t start multiple drugs all at once,” said Hramiak. “We take one at a time. We wait until you run out of efficacy from that drug, which can take a variable length of time and then we add a drug. But over the course of many years, there are lag periods and people spend a lot of time poorly controlled rather than well controlled because of the progressive nature of the disease.”
Speaking about the experimental treatment, Hramiak added: “It’s quite innovative. It’s really changing the disease and inducing remission rather than treating disease. It’s a huge difference to our overall approach.”
152 patients in Canada who have been newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are being sought for the study.

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