(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Much attention has come to the use of glitazones, a class of drugs for the treatment of diabetes, especially in light of the Avandia (rosiglitazone) black box warnings. Avandia is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and has been taken off the market in Europe. However, Actos (piolitazone), has fewer side effects and is still used as a therapy for type 2 diabetes.
In this study, conducted by University of Texas Health Science Center and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, over 600 participants who have elevated blood sugar, a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, were given either Actos or a placebo and then followed for 2.4 years. Results of the study show participants in the Actos group were 72 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those taking placebo.
This is a modest improvement over lifestyle change alone, which can lead to a 58-percent decrease in progression to diabetes. Patients in the Actos group also had slightly lower blood pressure, less plaque buildup in arteries, and an improvement in cholesterol. However, patients taking Actos had more weight gain and leg swelling than those on placebo.
It is not clear weather this medication will benefit patients in the long term or actually decrease complications from diabetes down the line.
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