Some people who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are reluctant to start treatment right away, but they might be missing a window of opportunity to keep their blood sugar in check for the long haul. A new study suggests that aggressive treatment of newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes using 3 drugs at once can keep A1C levels in check while also helping with weight loss.
A team of researchers, led by Dr. Muhammad A. Abdul-Ghani of the University of Texas Health Science Center, found that patients who used a combination drug therapy of metformin, exenatide, and pioglitazone were able to keep their A1C levels in check up to 2 years after starting therapy, according to a report in Medscape Medical News. The study examined 155 people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the previous 2 years; all were starting drug therapy for the first time. Researchers divided up participants into those who would start traditional drug therapy of metformin and those who would start the 3-drug therapy. The target goal was to ensure that patients don’t have an A1C of 6.5 or greater on 2 consecutive visits.
What they found is that 60% of those on the triple-therapy had an A1C of 6.0 or lower after 2 years, compared to 27% for those just on metformin. And 42% of those on conventional therapy failed to meet the goal of an A1C of 6.5 or lower, while only 17% of those on the triple therapy failed to meet the goal. Further, those on the triple therapy lost a modest amount of weight, while those on traditional therapy gained weight as a rule during the 2-year period. Two of the drugs, the metformin and the pioglitazone, can be combined into a daily pill, while long-acting exenatide can be injected just once a week.
The study is ongoing and has reached the 3-year mark, according to the report. There is hope to continue it for another 3 years to see if the 3-drug therapy will continue to provide reduced A1C levels.