Diabetes Drug Reduces Heart Attack Risk in HIV Patients


Drug mitigates elevated cardiovascular risk in infected patients.

Drug mitigates elevated cardiovascular risk in infected patients.

A drug commonly used to lower blood sugar may also prevent heart attacks in patients infected with HIV.

Partially due to chronic inflammation, HIV-infected adults face an elevated risk of heart attacks, diabetes, and issues with glucose, insulin, and cholesterol. A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found the diabetes drug sitagliptin (Januvia) boosted metabolism and decreased inflammation in HIV-positive patients on antiretroviral therapy.

"The goal has been to identify treatments that not only address problems with blood sugar and lipids but also can lower inflammation, which can play a substantial role in heart disease and stroke," said principal investigator Kevin E. Yarasheski, PhD, in a press release. "With sitagliptin, sugar levels fell, and several markers of immune activation and inflammation were reduced, indicating the drug may provide long-term benefits for these patients' hearts, bones and livers."

The study noted that standard diabetes treatments in HIV patients have achieved some success in the past without completely normalizing blood sugar, insulin and lipid levels, in addition to other indicators of heart and metabolic health.

For the current 8-week study of sitagliptin, researchers evaluated whether the drug offers specific health benefits.

The study included 36 HIV patients age 18 to 65 years who were on antiretroviral therapy with a stable immune status. At baseline, the researchers measured glucose levels, insulin sensitivity, lipid levels, immune cell counts, and various markers of inflammation and indicators of health.

While the preliminary results are promising, additional long-term studies are needed to evaluate if lower inflammation markers after 8 weeks of treatment can lower the risk for heart attacks and metabolic problems.

"Lowering blood sugar isn't enough," Yarasheski said. "Just treating lipids isn't enough. We want to target the nexus between metabolic regulation and immune regulation. Whether this particular drug lowers inflammation enough to actually reduce cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and hypertension is a question that still needs to be addressed. But these findings are a step in the right direction."

Related Videos
Pharmacist holding medicine box in pharmacy drugstore. | Image Credit: I Viewfinder - stock.adobe.com
Pharmacy Drugstore Checkout Cashier Counter | Image Credit: Gorodenkoff - stock.adobe.com
Medicine tablets on counting tray with counting spatula at pharmacy | Image Credit: sutlafk - stock.adobe.com
Capsules medicine and white medicine bottles on table | Image Credit: Satawat - stock.adobe.com
Human cell or Embryonic stem cell microscope background | Image Credit: Anusorn - stock.adobe.com
Concept of health care, pharmaceutical business, drug prices, pharmacy, medicine and economics | Image Credit: Oleg - stock.adobe.com
Biosimilar pharmaceutical drug bottle on blue background. | Image Credit: Carl - stock.adobe.com
Pharmaceutical manufacture background with glass bottles with clear liquid on automatic conveyor line. | Image Credit: wacomka - stock.adobe.com
Bottle and scattered pills on color background, top view | Image Credit: New Africa - stock.adobe.com
pharmacy | Image Credit: Diego Cervo - stock.adobe.com
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.