A study involving more than 9000 people with impaired glucose tolerance found no reduction in future heart problems in people prescribed two drug treatments compared with dummy pills. Researchers further said that the most effective ways to combat early diabetes is by following the right diet and exercise.
During the trial, researchers in the US and UK used a drug that lowers blood pressure or a drug which lowers blood sugar onpatients across 40 countries to assess if they can stop diabetes developing in these high-risk patients. The findings showed no difference in the clinical outcomes of patients taking medication vis-à-vis those who were on placebo pills. The drugs were also not successful in preventing heart attacks and strokes, which are complications of Type 2 diabetes.
Professor Rury Holman, director of the Diabetes Trials Unit at the University of Oxford, said the treatments were proven to be effective once someone had diabetes but there was an “urgent need” for drugs to prevent the disease and its complications developing in the first place in those at high risk. He reinforced the importance of lifestyle changes and incorporation of healthy diet and exercise as the best treatment for someone at high risk of diabetes.
Statistics show that about 7m people in the UK are at risk of developing diabetes, or already have pre-diabetes, making it imperative to rapidly expand the national health check programme, with many more community dieticians and exercise advisors ready to offer help.
The study and its conclusions are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Written by Snigdha for Biomed-ME