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Fibrate Drug May Be Useful In Diabetes Prevention

April 13, 2009

A type of drug that is approved for lowering cholesterol may prove to be beneficial in preventing or delaying the onset of type-2 diabetes, researchers reported on Monday.

Bezafibrate, marketed as Bezalip, Difaterol or Bezatol, is an approved fibrate used to lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride in blood while increasing HDL cholesterol.

Dr. James H. Flory, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadephia, led a team of researchers to test a hypothesis that bezafibrate is an effective treatment to prevent or delay type-2 diabetes.

Researchers used medical practice data from the UK’s General Practice Research Database (GPRD). The study consisted of 12,161 patients who were on bezafibrate and 4,191 who were taking other fibrate drugs.

The incidence of type-2 diabetes among bezafibrate users was 8.5 cases per patient per 1000 years, the authors told Reuters. That figure was compared with 14.4 cases per patient per 1000 years among users of other fibrates.

“Bezafibrate users had a lower hazard for incident diabetes than users of other fibrates,” researchers wrote.

“This effect became stronger with increasing duration of therapy,” they concluded.

They also showed that the rates of type-2 diabetes were 34 percent lower among patients on bezafibrate when compared to patients on other fibrates.

Researchers said that more trials should be conducted in order to reinforce the suggestion that bezafibrates can be used in treating patients with diabetes or treating high-risk patients.

“Right now it is not clear that any of the available diabetes medications are safe from a cardiovascular standpoint,” Dr. Flory told Reuters. “And bezafibrate would be cheap because it is off-patent. But because it is off patent, industry is not likely to take care of this research for us.”

Last month, Eli Roth, of Sterling Research Group in Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati, reported that Fenofibric acid (Trilipix) in addition to a 5-mg dose of rosuvastatin (Crestor) “significantly improved the lipid profile of patients with mixed dyslipidemia” in a phase-3 study.

“The combined treatment reduced triglycerides by 40.3 percent and increased HDL cholesterol by 25 percent, improvements that were significantly greater than those with rosuvastatin alone,” Roth told attendees of the American College of Cardiology meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Dr. Roth said the amount of lipid changes achieved with the combined treatment, “are remarkable for such a low dose of statin.”

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