Irbesartan is a member of a class of blood pressure lowering medications known as angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). Drugs that block the renal angiotensin system have previously been shown to be effective in slowing the progression of both kidney and cardiovascular disease in Type 1 diabetic patients with high blood pressure.
Since irbesartan can prevent or delay the progression of kidney disease, dialysis or kidney transplantation, treating patients with this therapy can save lives and improve quality of life, said Lewis. It can also lead to an enormous reduction in health care costs.
Diabetes develops when the body cannot effectively control the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Type 2 diabetes affects approximately 200 million people worldwide.
Forty to fifty percent of patients with Type 2 diabetes will develop kidney disease, according to researchers. Kidney disease from diabetes is the most common cause of chronic renal failure leading to dialysis or transplantation.
It is important to test all people with diabetes for any evidence of kidney disease, and based on this study, these patients should be placed on irbesartan as their kidney medicine, said Lewis.