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Blood Sugar and Cholesterol in Diabetics

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Blood sugar and cholesterol is a problem that many diabetics suffer and we recently found an interesting article By Ed Edelson of HealthDay News mentioning a drug that could simplify pill-taking for many Americans with the most common form of diabetes. It seems this approach has shown promise in clinical trials – so will it be the next big thing to hit the market?

A combo approach to control cholesterol and blood sugar levels

The pharmaceutical industry has put together a new drug called muraglitazar. Supposedly, this drug offers a combo approach to combat high blood sugar and high cholesterol, which is a major problems faced by people with type 2 diabetes.

"Further, muraglitazar achieved these goals with only one pill a day, which makes it easier for people with type 2 diabetes to manage multiple health problems and may enhance patient compliance," Dr. David Kendall, medical director of the International Diabetes Center in Minneapolis, said in a statement.

Kendall was to present the findings Sunday at the American Diabetes Association's annual meeting in San Diego.

Muraglitazar produces its twin effect because it acts on cell receptors for both insulin and fats such as cholesterol. Existing diabetes drugs such as metformin act only on insulin receptors, the researchers said. Therefore this approach clearly targets blood sugar and cholesterol

A first trial of 985 people given different daily doses of muraglitazar established that the most effective dose was 5 milligrams a day. The researchers followed 88 of the participants taking the 5-milligram doses and found very tight control of blood sugar levels.

A larger trial included 1,159 people with type 2 diabetes who were taking metformin. They all continued to take that drug. Half were randomly assigned to take either muraglitazar or a different drug, pioglitazone, which acts only on insulin receptors. After 24 weeks, blood sugar levels were 1.14 percent lower in the muraglitazar group, compared to 0.85 percent lower in the people taking the other drug.

Blood levels of LDL cholesterol, the "bad" kind that clogs arteries, were 5.9 percent lower in the muraglitazar takers, compared to 1.2 percent lower in those taking the other drug. And levels of "good" HDL cholesterol were markedly higher in those taking muraglitazar

Those results are in line with previous large-scale trials of muraglitazar, said Dr. Nathaniel Clark, national vice president for clinical affairs of the American Diabetes Association, and are important for a large percentage of people with type 2 diabetes.

"The important point is that most people with type 2 diabetes have problems with both blood sugar and blood cholesterol," Clark said. "This pill, taken once a day, helps with both problems."

But the dream of controlling diabetes with just one pill a day probably will not come true for many people, Clark said. It's likely that a number of people with type 2 diabetes will continue to take other medications even if muraglitazar works as hoped for them because many have other problems that require drug therapy, such as high blood pressure.

Muraglitazar was developed by Bristol-Meyers Squibb, which has signed a marketing agreement with Merck. An application for approval was submitted last December to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said Janet Skidmore, a Merck spokeswoman.

Well we will probably have to wait some years until we see a "combo" blood sugar and cholesterol pill on the market, but we will keep our readers informed on any updates.

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