Diabetes Watch

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Watch Aspirin Intake

Whereas many patients with diabetestake aspirin to reduce the risk of a heartattack, a new study suggests it maynot be the best approach. Researchershave demonstrated that aspirin doesnot lower the risk of a heart attack foreven high-risk diabetics, unless theypreviously experienced heart disease.The drug, however, is known to raise theodds of bleeding in the gut.

Researchers in the United Kingdomgave 1276 patients with diabetes aspirin,an antioxidant, or placebo, and followedtheir health for 8 years. The investigatorsdetermined that neither the aspirin northe antioxidant cut the risk of a heartattack, even in the high-risk groups.

Lead researcher Jill Belch, MD, saidthat aspirin should only be prescribedto patients who have already beendiagnosed with heart disease or had astroke. The findings were published onthe British Medical Journal's Web site onOctober 16, 2008.

Oh, My Eyes!

New research reported in the Archivesof Ophthalmology (October 2008) foundthat vision loss is almost twice as commonin patients with diabetes, comparedwith patients without the disease.

Researchers at the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention learned that 11%of adults with diabetes had some levelof visual impairment, compared with5.9% of those without diabetes. Of theparticipants in the study with diabetes(n = 1237), about 4% had uncorrectablevisual impairment, whereas about 7%had correctable vision loss. In comparison,1.4% of adults without diabetes hadirreparable vision loss, while 4.5% hadcorrectable impairment.

The experts recommend that patientswith diabetes have an eye exam at leastonce a year to detect diabetic retinopathyand other eye disorders early. Goodcontrol of blood sugar and blood pressurealso may help prevent eye complications.

Diabetes Impacts Testosterone Levels

A study reported in Diabetes Care (October 2008) found thatabout one third of men with type 2 diabetes have decreasedtestosterone levels. For the study, the researchers measuredcirculating levels of testosterone in 24 men with type 2 diabetesand 38 men with type 1 diabetes. All of the participantswere between 18 and 35 years old.

The researchers reported that testosterone levels wereconsiderably lower in type 2 diabetes patients, compared withthose with type 1 diabetes. Specifically, 33% of the patientswith type 2 diabetes had testosterone levels that were belownormal, and 58% had testosterone levels below normal for theirage.

F A S T F A C T: About 1 in every 400 to 600children and adolescents has type 1 diabetes.

Vaccine Shows Promise for Type 1 Diabetics

A new vaccine may change the way the immune system respondsin individuals who are newly diagnosed with type 1diabetes. The results of the study, however, did not change theclinical course of the disease. The vaccine is made of a proteincalled GAD. In patients with diabetes, it is as if they are allergicto GAD. The study involved 70 children between the ages of 10and 18 who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes no morethan 18 months before study onset.

At the end of the study, the researchers said insulin requirementsdid not change. In children who were more recentlydiagnosed, however, there was evidence that the treatmentgroup retained more activity in the pancreas. The researchershope that the vaccine will help the body learn to tolerate GADagain. The findings were reported in the October 30, 2008,issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Diabetes Does Not Raise Risk of Parkinson's Disease

Data from the Physicians' Health Studyfound no correlation between diabetesand an increased risk of Parkinson's disease,according to study findings reportedin the October 2008 issue of DiabetesCare. The study involved 21,841 US malephysicians, who were followed for anaverage of 23 years.

For the study, 423 patients had adultonsettype 2 diabetes at study onset and1987 men reported developing diabetesduring the study. A total of 556 participantsreported having Parkinson's diseaseduring follow-up. The average age ofdiagnosis was 73.1 years. The researchersfound that patients with diabeteshad a 34% increased risk of Parkinson'sdisease, compared with men without diabetes,but they note that "the findings donot suggest diabetes is a preceding riskfactor for Parkinson's disease."