Stopping Diabetes Before It Starts

Sitagliptin may delay or prevent onset of type 2 diabetes

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A newer drug used to treat people who already have type 2 diabetes might also help prevent diabetes in people who are at high risk of developing the disease.

People with pre-diabetes have high levels of blood sugar after eating a meal.  Often they have close to normal bood sugar levels after not eating overnight. Pre-diabetics also have high levels of glucagon, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. As such, these two indicators help identify people who have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes

dailyRx Insight: Januvia not only treats diabetes, but also may prevent the disease.

Researchers found that a diabetes drug called Januvia (sitagliptin ) increased the amount of insulin produced. Januvia also decreased the amount of glucagon produced. Because of the increase in insulin and decrease in glucagon, Januvia was successful in lowering blood sugar levels in the rats.

These findings suggest that Januvia may help people with pre-diabetes maintain healthy blood sugar levels and avoid the onset of diabetes.

Richrd J. Koletsky, M.D., and colleagues compared the effects of Januvia , glyburide (an older diabetes drug), and placebo on rats with pre-diabetes. Not only did Januvia increase insulin production by the pancreas, but it also redistributed fat deposits in the abdomen to deposits under the skin. This redistribution of fat is healthy, as fat stored inside the abdomen can increase multiple risks associated with diabetes and heart health.

According to Steven R. Goodman, Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Biology and Medicine, the finding about fat redistribution is especially interesting. More research needs to be done to understand why this happens.

Nearly 26 million individuals are affected by diabetes in the United States each year, with about seven million people going undiagnosed. Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease with no cure in which a person has high blood sugar because the body does not produce enough insulin (Type 1) or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced (Type 2). There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational. Several groups of oral drugs, are effective for Type 2, such as Glucophage, Glucotrol, and Prandin, among many others. The therapeutic combination in Type 2 may eventually include injected insulin as symptoms worsen. Along with the presence of physical symptoms, a common blood test known as the A1c can test for the disease.

The study appears in the March 2011 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine

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Review Date: 
March 24, 2011
Last Updated:
March 29, 2011