Inexpensive, Generic Drug Improves Blood Glucose Control in People with Type 2 Diabetes
Researchers have discovered that the drug salsalate helped people with type 2 diabetes control their blood glucose levels. Salsalate is an inexpensive, generic anti-inflammatory drug that is chemically similar to aspirin, but causes fewer stomach problems. It has been used safely for decades to treat people with arthritis. Because research is showing that metabolic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, are associated with chronic inflammation, scientists tested whether this anti-inflammatory drug could effectively treat people with type 2 diabetes. In the first phase of the Targeting Inflammation with Salsalate in Type 2 Diabetes (TINSAL-T2D) clinical trial, 108 people were randomly assigned to four different treatment regimens: one group received placebo and three groups received different doses of the drug. All participants continued their regular diabetes treatment regimen during the trial. After 3 months, people taking salsalate had lower blood glucose and triglyceride levels on average compared to people taking placebo. Some participants experienced adverse changes such as increased excretion of protein in the urine and higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Thus, researchers are conducting a longer, larger trial to further test salsalate—knowledge that is needed to further evaluate the relative benefits and risks of the drug. With more research, salsalate may prove to be an inexpensive way to help treat the millions of people with type 2 diabetes in the U.S.
Goldfine AB, Fonseca V, Jablonski KA, Pyle L, Staten MA, and Shoelson SE. The effects of salsalate on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 152: 346-357, 2010.