An anti-inflammatory drug commonly used to treat joint swelling and pain has been shown to safely lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Diacerei, which is often given to people who suffer from osteoarthritis, was also shown to help decrease the amount of insulin people with diabetes were injecting.
The treatment was carried out on 84 people who all had type 2 diabetes and HbA1c levels between 59 mmol/mol (7.5%) and 80 mmol/mol (9.5%).
The participants were split up into two groups, one of which was treated with 100mg of diacerein and the other group was given a placebo.
On average the diacerein group saw their HbA1c levels lower, through the study period, when compared to the placebo participants. Seven people in the drug group reduced their insulin doses, whereas 10 people increased their dosage in the placebo group. Fasting blood glucose levels did not differ in either group.
The researchers noted that 65 per cent of the people in the drug group experienced diarrhea during the trial, which interrupted treatment slightly.
They concluded: “Diacerein reduced mean HbA1c levels, with peak of effect at the 24th week of treatment. The drug was well tolerated and may be indicated as adjunct treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes, particularly in those with osteoarthritis.”
The work was led by Dr Gil F. Salles, from the department of internal medicine, University Hospital Clementino Fraga Filho and the School of Medicine at Universidad Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
The researchers added: “Larger [randomised controlled trials] with longer follow-up periods are needed to assess long-term cardiorenal safety as well as diacerein efficacy in preventing or reducing chronic macro- and microvascular diabetic complications.”
The study was published in the journal Diabetes Care.

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