Sydney: A drug designed to improve levels of "good" cholesterol may also help control blood sugar in diabetics who are on cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Researchers stumbled on this finding while analysing data from a clinical trial on the drug torcetrapib. The development of this drug was halted five years ago.
Torcetrapib is a cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor, a type of drug that increases levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs, or "good" cholesterol), Journal of the American Heart Association.
The study found that 6,661 people with type 2 diabetes - also known as "adult-onset"
diabetes - showed improved blood sugar control when taking torcetrapib along with a
statin medication that reduces low-density lipoproteins (LDLs or "bad" cholesterol).
Subjects who took a statin and a placebo did not see such improvements, according to a University of Sydney statement.
"The possibility that CETP inhibitor drugs may not only reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but may also improve the control of blood sugar in people with diabetes, is an exciting prospect that may translate into real health benefits for people with diabetes," said Philip Barter, professor of medicine who led the study.
Barter is the director of the Heart Research Institute at the University of Sydney in Australia.
About 220 million people worldwide have diabetes, according to the World Health
Organization. An estimated 90 percent to 95 percent of them have type 2 diabetes, which increases the risk for heart disease, stroke and various other health problems.