According to a new study, diabetes drug, Actos (pioglitazone) may be able to protect people who've already had a stroke from suffering a second stroke. Actos is a new option for patients who have had a stroke to help prevent a future stroke, said lead researcher, Dr. Walter Kernan, a professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.
Kernan and colleagues randomly assigned nearly 4,000
patients who had suffered a stroke or a mini-stroke to Actos and a
placebo. None of the patients had diabetes but they did have evidence of
insulin resistance, putting them at risk for the blood-sugar disease.
Over nearly five years of follow-up, 9 percent of those taking Actos
had another stroke or heart attack, compared with nearly 12 percent of
those receiving placebo, the researchers found.
Nearly 4 percent of those taking Actos developed diabetes, compared
with nearly 8 percent of those taking the placebo, the study showed.According to Kernan, no one knows how Actos works to prevent stroke, but the best
guess is that the drug reduces inflammation, improves insulin
resistance, helps manage fats in the body and "favorably affects the
function of blood vessels. This provides a fairly strong evidence that insulin resistance is
an important new target for prevention of stroke, according to him and
takes preventive neurology in a new direction and opens up new
opportunities for the care of patients. Dr. Richard Libman, vice chairman of neurology at Long Island Jewish
Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y said this new finding may add
to the ability to prevent recurrent strokes, but it needs to be
confirmed before the drug can be widely used. Also Dr. Gerald Bernstein, endocrinologist at the Friedman Diabetes
Institute of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City acknowledged that this is a
straightforward look at a few thousand people over a reasonable period
showing the benefits and liabilities of Actos, the question
we are left with is whether we have something that is all upside and no
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