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Two-Drug Combo Reduces Diabetic Kidney Damage
Date:6/4/2008

Almost 25 percent of participants saw urine protein levels lowered significantly

WEDNESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- A combination of two drugs used to combat some of the damaging effects of type 2 diabetes may also reduce the risk of diabetic kidney failure, a new Danish study has found.

But the researchers warn that testing the combination of losartan (Cozaar) and aliskiren (Tekturna) to block the activity of a molecule that damages renal arteries is still in the early stages.

Losartan is often prescribed for high blood pressure in diabetes. Aliskiren blocks the pathways that allow the vessel-damaging molecule -- angiotensin II -- to grow and expand.

The study, published in the June 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, used 599 people with type 2 diabetes, the kind that generally develops in adults. In the six-month trial, half took losartan and aliskiren, while the others took losartan and a placebo. The double-dose treatment reduced the amount of protein in the urine by 50 percent or more in 24.7 percent of participants, compared to 12.5 percent of those who got the placebo.

"This is clearly a very exciting thing," said Dr. Matthew Weir, director of the division of nephrology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Kidney failure is a major problem in diabetes, and reducing the rate of failure would be a major achievement, he noted.

However, the results won't officially mean anything to the U.S. government. Weir said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't officially recognize reduction of proteinurea as a biomarker of success in preserving kidney function. And the trial lasted only six months, which means more studies are required, he added.

"The ultimate plan now would be to do a full renal [kidney] protection trial over, say, three years to show that this is a better strategy to prevent kidney failure," he said.

Weir himself is not
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