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2 Drugs Fail to Prevent Diabetes in the Overweight
Date:3/14/2010

Diovan, Starlix also had limited or no effect in shielding users from cardiovascular woes, study finds

SUNDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Hopes that two available drugs could help prevent diabetes and the problems it causes in overweight people with poor sugar metabolism have been dashed by a major international study.

The trial involved two drugs prescribed for other reasons -- Diovan (valsartan), a blood pressure medication; and Starlix (nateglinide), which is given to control existing type 2 diabetes.

The study was financed by Novartis, the drug company that markets both products.

The Starlix portion of the five-year trial, involving more than 9,300 overweight adults, found the drug had no benefit in reducing the incidence of newly diagnosed diabetes, cardiovascular death or events such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure.

The Diovan portion did find a modest effect -- 14 percent -- in preventing new diabetes cases. However, as was the case in the Starlix part of the trial, using Diovan led to no reduction in the cardiovascular conditions for which diabetes is a major risk factor.

Results of the trial were reported in two papers released early on March 13 by the New England Journal of Medicine, and slated for presentation Sunday at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting, in Atlanta.

"It would be great if we had something that would prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease at the same time," said Dr. Robert M. Califf, vice chancellor for clinical research at Duke University, and one of the leaders of the trial. "We didn't get that."

And despite the faintly positive results of the Diovan portion of the trial, "in neither case would we recommend such prophylactive [preventive] treatment in people who don't have diabetes but have abnormal glucose tolerance," Califf said.

So, lifestyle remains the key factor in preventing obesity and p
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