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Diabetes Drug Sulfonylurea Shows Benefit for Stroke

Type 2 diabetes patients taking the medication have better outcomes from non-lacunar strokes

FRIDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Type 2 diabetes patients may be more likely to have successful recoveries from strokes if they are taking sulfonylurea drugs, researchers report in the September issue of Stroke.

Hagen Kunte, M.D., of Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, and colleagues reviewed the medical records of patients with type 2 diabetes admitted to a Berlin hospital with acute ischemic strokes between 1994 and 2000. Thirty-three study patients, mean age 66.8 years, were on sulfonylurea agents at the time of admission and throughout their hospitalization (mean duration, 14 days). A group of 28 stroke patients with diabetes not taking sulfonylurea agents was used as the control.

The primary outcome, a decrease in the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale of four points or more from admission to discharge or a discharge score of zero (signifying "major neurological improvement"), was reached by 36.4 percent of patients in the treatment group versus 7.1 percent of patients in the control group. The secondary outcome, a modified Rankin Scale of two or less at discharge (signifying "functional independence"), was achieved by 81.8 percent in the treatment group versus 57.1 percent in the control group. Subgroup analysis showed that these benefits were observed in patients with non-lacunar strokes and not in patients with lacunar strokes.

"Future studies will be required to determine whether post-event treatment with sufonylureas is as beneficial as was observed here when treatment was ongoing before the ischemic event," the authors conclude.

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