Combined Therapy Improved Care Of Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Proper Use Of,,New Oral Medications Evaluated

NEW HAVEN, Conn., March 26, 1998-When patients with type 2 diabetes took two new medications together, rather than separately, they experienced further improvement in controlling their blood glucose levels, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Yale University School of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Yale.

"The medications that we studied-metformin and troglitazone-act in different ways in the human body and were equally effective in lowering patients' blood glucose levels," explains Gerald I. Shulman, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine (endocrinology) and of cellular and molecular physiology at Yale and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "The combined therapy was logical and reversed two abnormalities that patients with this disorder experience. Metformin acted primarily to decrease the patients' liver glucose production, while troglitazone worked primarily to enhance the ability of the patients' muscle to respond to insulin and take up glucose."

The findings are reported in the March 26 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, published by the Massachusetts Medical Society. The study itself was conducted in Yale's federally supported General Clinical Research Center. Glucose, a simple sugar, serves as an important source of energy in the human body, as well as an important source of energy for the brain. People with diabetes experience higher than normal blood glucose levels, which can lead to complications.

Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is considered to be the leading cause of blindness, renal failure and loss of limb, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). It also is the fourth leading cause of death. Approximately $85 billion a year are estimated to be spent on direct diabetes care.

Type 2 diabetes affects about 15 million Americans, the ADA estimates. Approximately seven million Americans have b

Contact: Helaine Patterson or Karen Peart
203 785-5824
Yale University School of Medicine

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