Diabetes :: Diet drug cuts blood sugar, trims waistline in type 2 diabetics

A drug that curbs appetite has been found to reduce a host of factors that contribute to type 2 diabetes – including elevated blood sugar levels, a study has shown.

The drug, rimonabant, was found to significantly lower levels of elevated blood sugar, insulin and triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood) as well as trimming waist circumference in patients with type 2 diabetes, the international study found. At the same time, it appeared to boost levels of HDL, the good cholesterol.

Rimonabant works by blocking cell receptors in the region of the brain responsible for regulating hunger and satiety. Research has shown that these CB1 receptors are linked to excess hunger – what’s known as the “stone munchies” – in people who use cannabis.

“What is noteworthy about the findings of the RIO-Diabetes trial is that even in a patient population with an average (blood sugar) level at a point where further control is difficult to achieve, rimonabant was still able to achieve a clinically significant reduction,” Scheen, an expert in treating diabetes, said in written remarks before presenting his study.

Weight loss was calculated to be responsible for less than half of the reduction in blood sugar among those given the drug.

Still, patients taking rimonabant lost more weight on average than those on placebo, the study showed.

The study also found that the rise of HDL cholesterol in those on the drug was more than twice that of patients on placebo; the difference in triglyceride reduction was more than 16 per cent between the two groups.

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