The diabetes drug sitagliptin may be able to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in patients with HIV.
Sitaglipti, marketed as Januvia, is an oral drug for patients with type 2 diabetes which serves to lower blood glucose levels.
A study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine found it may prevent cardiovascular problems in people with HIV, who have an elevated risk of heart attacks and diabetes.
Sitagliptin was observed to improve the metabolism and reduce inflammation of HIV-positive adults taking antiretroviral therapy – which aims to maximally suppress the HIV virus.
36 HIV patients were studied, aged between 18 and 65, who all had stable immune systems. Glucose levels, insulin sensitivity and several markers of inflammation were all measured.
Half of the patients took sitagliptin for eight weeks, while the other half received placebo. Each patient continued with antiretroviral therapy during the study.
While sitagliptin improved the blood glucose levels of patients, researchers were pleased to also observe that there was reduced inflammation among the patients in this group.
Lead investigator Kevin E. Yarasheskin, PhD, explained: “The goal has been to identify treatments that not only address problems with blood sugar and lipids but also can lower inflammation, which can play a substantial role in heart disease and stroke.
“With sitaglipti, sugar levels fell, and several markers of immune activation and inflammation were reduced, indicating the drug may provide long-term benefits for these patients’ hearts, bones and livers.”
The results of this study are published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

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