Study Indicates Diabetes Drug has Benefits on Blood Lipids of Diabetics

Dr. Patrick Boyle, professor of Medicine and director of the Clinical Research Center, was lead author of a study that indicates a diabetes drug has a benefical effect on lipid levels.

Patients taking pioglitazone HCl, part of a class of type 2 diabetes oral antidiabetic agents called insulin sensitizers, saw greater improvement in lipid levels than patients taking rosiglitazone maleate, according to a study published in the March issue of Clinical Therapeutics. Results from a randomized review showed that patients treated with pioglitazone were able to decrease their triglycerides and improve HDL ("good") cholesterol levels compared to patients taking rosiglitazone.

"Given the fact that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes, it's crucial to closely monitor not only patients' blood glucose but also lipid levels," said Boyle.

Approximately 16 million Americans have diabetes and each year more than 77,000 of them die because of heart disease. Diabetes dramatically increases a person's risk for heart disease and stroke and often is associated with other cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, cholesterol disorders, obesity, and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance, a condition where the body does not respond efficiently to the insulin it produces, seems to predispose a person to both cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Results from the study conducted by Health Economics Research, Secaucus, New Jersey, were based on a multicenter retrospective chart review of 1,115 similar patients with type 2 diabetes; 525 had received pioglitazone and 590 had received rosiglitazone. In the pioglitazone group, 70 percent of the patients received the lower 30 mg/day dose and 30 percent received the higher 45 mg/day dose. Among the rosiglitazone group, 46 percent received the lower 4 mg/day dose and 54 percent received the higher 8 mg/day dose.

Both pioglitazone and rosiglitazone patients had significant reductions in triglyceride levels. Triglycerides dropped 23 percent from baseline in pioglitazone patients compared with 6 percent in rosiglitazone patients. Mean total cholesterol levels for the pioglitazone patients decreased by 4 percent from baseline. Rosiglitazone patients showed an increase of 2 percent from baseline. Study results also showed pioglitazone improved lipid profiles by increasing mean HDL ("good") cholesterol by 6 percent from baseline. Essentially no change in HDL was noted for patients receiving rosiglitazone. Mean LDL ("bad") cholesterol decreased with the pioglitazone group by 4 percent from baseline versus an increase of 3 percent for rosiglitazone. Blood sugar levels decreased in a similar manner for both pioglitazone and rosiglitazone patients. The conclusion was that pioglitazone is more effective than rosiglitazone in improving lipid profiles of patients with type 2 diabetes.

Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322

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