Diabetes study aims for better treatment options
July 24th, 2013
Omaha, NE — The University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Omaha VA hospital are taking part in a nationwide study to find new treatment options for patients with type II diabetes.[audio: http://www.kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/final.mp3]
The $2.1 million, five-year study will enroll 5,000 type II diabetes patients who take only the drug Metformin to control their diabetes. The purpose of the study is find out what other drugs can be used in combination with Metformin to treat the disease.
“Most diabetics fail the first drug after two to four years,” said Dr. Cyrus Desouza, principal investigator of the study. “We don’t know the second best drug to use after Metformin.”
Patients will continue taking Metformin, which is used to decrease glucose levels and increase the body’s response to insulin, in addition to one of four randomly selected drugs.
The drugs are: sulfonylurea, which increases insulin levels directly; a DPP-4 inhibitor, which indirectly increases insulin levels by increasing the effect of a naturally occurring intestinal hormone; and GLP-1 agonist, which increases the amount of insulin released in response to nutrients. The fourth type of medication is long-acting insulin.
Ray Mayfield, a diabetes patient at UNMC, said more research is needed to find the best treatment options.
“Metformin is good, but if you can find a drug better than Metformin then hey why not do the research on it,” Mayfield said.
Mayfield was diagnosed with Type II diabetes six years ago. His mother and all eight of his siblings have also been diagnosed.
“When I found out I had diabetes, I immediately started eating differently,” Mayfield said. “I began walking around my apartment complex three times a week and I cut out late night snacks. I saw myself go from 230 pounds to 218 pounds.”
Mayfield suffered from a heart attack last year and has high blood pressure, which makes controlling his diabetes even more vital.
Desouza said this study is of particular interest to minorities since their bodies respond differently to the disease and treatment.
He said Asians might get diabetes when their body mass index is more than 23, while Caucasians require a much higher body mass index of 27 to 30. He also said African Americans generally accumulate fat in the buttocks and hips while other races usually accumulate fat inside the abdomen.
“We do know that diabetes is not uniform,” Desouza said. “Different races behave differently with different diseases. What we don’t know is what combination of drugs is better for one race compared to another.”
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