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Controversial Cholesterol Drug Might Lower Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetics
Date:7/19/2011

with type 2 diabetes between the ages of 45 and 75. Almost 4,000 of the people with type 2 diabetes had a history of cardiovascular disease at the start of the study.

All of the study participants were given lifestyle education and the LDL-lowering drug, atorvastatin. They were then randomly placed into one of two groups: one group received 60 milligrams of torcetrapib daily, while the other group received placebo pills.

The trial was stopped in 2006 when it was determined that people in the torcetrapib group had significantly more cardiovascular problems and deaths than those in the placebo group. According to the Australian researchers, the increased risk of cardiovascular problems probably wasn't due to the CETP inhibition, but to other actions of the drug. They suspect that the other medications in this class of medicines won't have the same detrimental effects.

For the current study, the researchers went back through the data to examine the drug's effect on blood sugar. They found fasting blood sugar levels were lower for the torcetrapib group, and hemoglobin A1C levels (a test that provides a two- to three-month average of blood sugar levels) were also lower -- 7.29 percent in the placebo group and 7.06 percent in the torcetrapib group, according to the study.

"This is a mild drop in blood sugar. For someone who averages 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) each day, this would bring them down to around 140 mg/dL," explained Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an attending endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

"I don't think these are powerful anti-diabetic agents, but it's an added effect, and it makes sense if we can treat several risk factors with one drug," said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

Zonszein said there's no clear explanation for how this medication might be lowering blood sugar levels, but notes that type 2 diabetes and cholesterol
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