Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
Can drugs prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes? One class of drugs shows promise, but it has its drawbacks.
Who Needs TZDs?
Given the possible benefits of TZDs, you may wonder whether you
should be using them yourself. They aren't appropriate in all cases, and many
of their benefits need to be confirmed.
For instance, despite the promise of the TRIPOD study, TZDs are
not recommended for the treatment of pre-diabetes. "I get asked a lot
whether you should treat everybody with insulin-resistance syndrome with a
TZD," says Buchanan, "and the answer is no." Buchanan notes that
insulin resistance is really marked by a cluster of things, and treatment
should be based on what symptoms an individual has.
It is also crucial to know that other studies, such as the
Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), have demonstrated the effectiveness of
behavioral interventions -- such as regular exercise and weight loss -- in
slowing or preventing the progress of pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.
Depending on your case, changes in your diet and an increase in exercise may be
the best medicine.
For the time being, doctors are generally advised to use TZDs
cautiously because of their potential risks. But the beneficial effects of TZDs
point to a possible future in the treatment of diabetes.
"I think that if nothing else, TRIPOD showed that by
focusing on the relieving the stress on beta cells, we can slow the progress of
IGT and type 2 diabetes," Buchanan says. "We can stabilize the