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ADA: Actos May Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Study of patients with impaired glucose tolerance shows dramatically reduced conversion rate

TUESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with impaired glucose tolerance, the oral drug pioglitazone (Actos) reduces the rate of conversion to type 2 diabetes by 81 percent, according to research presented this week at the American Diabetes Association's 68th Annual Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.

Ralph A. DeFronzo, M.D., of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, and colleagues from the ACTos NOW for the Prevention of Diabetes (ACT NOW) Study randomly assigned 602 subjects with impaired glucose tolerance to receive either pioglitazone or placebo.

After a median follow-up of four years, the researchers found that significantly fewer pioglitazone subjects than control subjects developed diabetes (10 versus 45). They also found that 42 percent of the pioglitazone subjects but only 28 percent of placebo subjects returned to normal glucose tolerance at the end of the study. Although they determined that the drug was safe and well-tolerated, they observed that it was more often associated with weight gain and edema.

"The drug is the best insulin sensitizer we have and it also preserves beta cell function," DeFronzo said in a statement. "The clinical response in this study is next to astronomical, not 100 percent but obviously highly significant."

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