AHA Logo Nearly 220 million people across the globe suffer from diabetes. Around 90 to 95 percent of them have type 2 diabetes leading to risks of heart diseases, stroke and other health conditions. According to a study conducted by the American Heart Association scientists, a medicine formulated to enhance proportions of good cholesterol supposedly helps to restrict blood sugar in people with diabetes who have been consuming cholesterol-lowering drugs.

The analysts came across this drug while going through data from a clinical trial on the drug torcetrapib that was ceased 5 years back. Torcetrapib is a cholesterol ester transfer protein, CETP inhibitor, a type of drug that increases amounts of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) or good cholesterol.

Around 6,661 people with type 2 diabetes also known as adult-onset diabetes seemed to show enhanced blood sugar control when they consumed torcetrapib collectively with statin medication that decreases low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) or bad cholesterol. On the other hand, participants who received a statin and a placebo did not see such advantages.

“The possibility that CETP inhibitor drugs may not only reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but may also improve the control of blood sugar in people with diabetes, is an exciting prospect that may translate into real health benefits for people with diabetes,” commented the study’s lead author, Philip Barter, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., a professor of medicine and director of the Heart Research Institute at the University of Sydney in Australia.

The drug used in the experiment did not seem to work with diabetes like other drugs usually used for the treatment. Instead, it lowered the harmful influence on blood sugar normally observed with statin use. Inhibiting CETP apparently has the ability to prohibit diabetic controls from turning worse which is a common phenomenon with people taking statin medications.

The clinical trial was called Investigation of Lipid Level Management to Understand its Impact in Atherosclerotic Events (ILLUMINATE) where more than 15,000 people aged 45 to 75 participated. Their medical status included history of heart attack, stroke, chest pain, peripheral vascular disease or cardiac revascularization. They were all on medication to control diabetes.

The tests were ceased early in 2006 when patients who consumed torcetrapib and a statin called atorvastatin seemed to have more cardiovascular problems and deaths than those who were administered atorvastatin and a placebo. Scientists later comprehended that these difficulties were due to alternate effects of the drug, and not due to its CETP inhibition.

While the development of torcetrapib was stopped, 2 other CETP inhibitors that scientists claim does not result in hazardous effects, namely dalcetrapib and anacetrapib are in the process of gaining approval from the government. The study disclosed that those who received both the drugs seemingly had 0.34 millimoles per liter less fasting blood sugar than the set which received only statin.

Fasting insulin also appeared to be less by 11.7 microunits per milliter in the group which was given both the drugs. Their insulin resistance also apparently turned better. After a span of 6 months, median levels of blood sugar control over 1 month duration appeared to be lower in the group who were on both the drugs when compared to the group that received just the statin.

CETP inhibitors also appeared to enhance glucose and insulin measures in study participants devoid of diabetes, although the levels were not very high. Additionally, it was unfolded that HDL amounts possibly rose by 66.8% after a year of consuming torcetrapib and the statin, while the other group showed minimal changes. Scientists are unsure if torcetrapib’s impact on HDL will attribute the improvement in diabetic control partly.

However, analysts believe that the study has to be appropriately validated. It is published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.