"Triple Therapy" Shows Promise for Type 2
Research news from the American Diabetes Association 73rd Scientific Sessions, June 21–25, 2013
An unconventional treatment regimen beat out the usual course of therapy in a study of 147 people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Metformin is typically the first medication prescribed for type 2, but if it can't control blood glucose levels alone, many doctors add a sulfonylurea followed by insulin. Researchers used this standard approach with one group and a strategy they called "triple therapy" with another. The idea was to use three medications at diagnosis—metformin, pioglitazone (Actos), and exenatide (Byetta). These drugs target the root causes of type 2 diabetes: insulin resistance and failing insulin-producing cells. At six months, the A1Cs of both treatment groups dropped to 6.1 percent. But at year two, the average A1C of participants getting standard treatment rose to 6.6 percent while the triple-therapy recipients' A1Cs stayed put. Triple-therapy users had an almost 14-fold lower rate of hypoglycemia and lost weight, while those in the standard group gained an average of 8 pounds.