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Study: Drug Used To Treat Diabetes May Be Used To Prevent It

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YOUNGSVILLE, N.C. — If you are prediabetic, the treatment long has been only exercise and a healthy diet. Now, a large study shows a drug called Avandia could reduce your risk by more than 60 percent.

Jorge Garcia, a father of two in Youngsville, is going on more walks with his family. He's exercising more and eating healthier.

"Everything started because I was kind of feeling dizzy when I was driving," he said.

A blood test showed his blood sugar level was higher than normal. He has a family history of diabetes. He does not have type 2 diabetes, but he's at risk for it.

"Right now, all I'm doing is just exercise and diet," he said. However, many people still have trouble bringing their blood sugar level in line. A study shows Avandia, a drug already used to help people who have diabetes, can also help to prevent it. It helps the body's insulin do a better job.

Raleigh endocrinologist Dr. Elizabeth Holt said if the insulin works better, then the blood sugar is better controlled. She is quick to add, though, that it is not a magic pill.

"These drugs don't work in a vacuum. There have to be lifestyle changes to make them effective," Holt said.

Garcia hopes he can reduce his risk without medication, but he's glad to know there's additional help if he needs it.

"It sounds really good. It would be nice to reinforce what you're already trying to do," he said.

Garcia is also glad he can talk about avoiding diabetes rather than treating it.

"I was able to find this out now when it's still very controllable," he said.

The federal Food and Drug Administration has not approved Avandia for use with prediabetic patients, but many doctors are beginning to prescribe it for adults. A clinical trial called DREAM, looked at Avandia's use in preventing diabetes in adults, but children and adolescents were not involved.


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