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Type 2 drugs - results of international trial

Speaking at the 19th World Diabetes Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, King’s College London researchers have announced the results of an international clinical trial comparing three drugs being used to treat Type 2 diabetes.

The ADOPT study (A Diabetes Outcome Programme Trial) evaluated three drugs - rosiglitazone, metformin and glyburide - as an initial single treatment for Type 2 diabetes. It looked at how effectively they delayed the progressive loss of blood glucose control.

Results show that rosiglitazone slowed the progression of the condition longer than the other drugs, metformin and glyburide.

"Alongside a healthy diet and exercise, many people with Type 2 diabetes will also need to take diabetes medication, usually in the form of a combination of drugs, to achieve good blood glucose control," said Natasha Marsland, Care Advisor Manager at Diabetes UK.

"Good control can significantly reduce the risk of blindness, heart attacks and strokes. The most important factor when deciding on what therapy to use to manage diabetes is looking at the specific needs of each individual."

The trials were conducted by research groups in the USA, Canada and 15 European countries. The findings are published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Side effects of all three drugs were also monitored.

Rosiglitazone (from the class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones, or glitazones) prompted weight gain, fluid retention and oedema (swollen legs).

Metformin (from the class of drugs known as biguanides) produced no such complications but showed more effects on the stomach and intestines, in particular diarrhoea. There was no difference between these two drugs in cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.

The third drug, glyburide (from the class of drugs known as sulphonylureas), had a much greater incidence of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels).

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