Type 2 Diabetes Can Be Prevented With Early Pharmacological Intervention

May 2011
Diabetes Care;May2011 Supplement 2, Vol. 34, pS202
Academic Journal
In the U.S., ~21 x 106 individuals have type 2 diabetes, and twice as many have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Approximately 40-50% of individuals with IGT will progress to type 2 diabetes over their lifetime. Therefore, treatment of high-risk individuals with IGT to prevent type 2 diabetes has important medical, economic, social, and human implications. Weight loss, although effective in reducing the conversion of IGT to type 2 diabetes, is difficult to achieve and maintain. Moreover, 40-50% of IGT subjects progress to type 2 diabetes despite successful weight reduction. In contrast, pharmacological treatment of IGT with oral antidiabetic agents that improve insulin sensitivity and preserve β-cell function--the characteristic pathophysiologncal abnormalities present in IGT and type 2 diabetes--uniformly have been shown to prevent progression of IGT to type 2 diabetes. The most consistent results have been observed with the thiazolidinediones (Troglitazone in the Prevention of Diabetes [TRIPOD], Pioglitazone in the Prevention of Diabetes [PIPOD], Diabetes Reduction Assessment with Ramipril and Rosiglitazone Medication [DREAM], and Actos Now for the Prevention of Diabetes [ACT NOW]), with a 50-70% reduction in IGT conversion to diabetes. Metformin in the U.S. Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) reduced the development of type 2 diabetes by 31% and has been recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for treating high-risk individuals with IGT. The glucagon-like peptide-1 analogs, which augment insulin secretion, preserve β-cell function, and promote weight loss, also would be expected to be efficacious in preventing the progression of IGT to type 2 diabetes. Because individuals in the upper tertile of IGT are maximally/near-maximally insulin resistant, have lost 70-80% of their β-cell function, and have an ~10% incidence of diabetic retinopathy, pharmacological intervention, in combination with diet plus exercise, should be instituted.


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