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Diabetes Medications Don't Lower Inflammation
Date:9/15/2009

Metformin, insulin have little effect on risk factor for heart disease, study finds

TUESDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, the glucose-lowering medications metformin and insulin don't appear to reduce the inflammation associated with heart disease, new research suggests.

Even though these medications helped reduce glucose levels, the researchers found they didn't affect inflammatory markers any more than a placebo drug did, according to a study published in the Sept. 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Heart disease is one of the many co-morbidities associated with diabetes," explained study author Dr. Aruna Pradhan, an assistant professor at the Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and a cardiologist at the VA Boston Medical Center. "We thought by lowering glucose levels that we would also address inflammation. But, we found that going lower in glucose levels doesn't impact inflammation, which is a risk factor for heart disease."

This study comes on the heels of other recent studies on diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Some suggested that intensive glucose control couldn't affect heart disease risk, while a recent meta-analysis suggests that good blood sugar levels could reduce death from heart attack, according to background information in Pradhan's study.

Almost 24 million Americans have diabetes, mostly type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Risk factors for developing the disease include being overweight and being over 40, though younger and thinner people can also develop the disease. In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn't produce enough insulin or can't use insulin effectively.

The current study included 500 men and women with type 2 diabetes diagnosed two years earlier on average. Slightly more women than men were included, and most of the study
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