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Diabetes Drug, Actos, May Help Prevent Second Stroke


A new study suggests that the diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone) might protect people from suffering a second stroke, nwitimes reports.

"Actos represents a new option for patients who have had a stroke to help prevent a future stroke," said lead researcher Dr. Walter Kernan, a professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.

The report was published online Feb. 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers said that the use of Actos, along with standard treatment of blood thinners, and blood pressure and cholesterol medication, reduced the odds of another stroke by 24 percent compared to a placebo.

For the study, Kernan and colleagues assigned nearly 4,000 patients who had suffered a stroke or a mini-stroke to Actos or a placebo. The patients were followed up for five years.

The researchers found that 9 percent of those taking Actos had another stroke or heart attack, compared with nearly 12 percent of those receiving placebo.

The study also showed 4 percent of those taking Actos developed diabetes, compared with nearly 8 percent of those taking the placebo.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health provided funding for the study.

Kernan said that the researchers believe that Actos reduces inflammation, improves insulin resistance, helps manage fats in the body and "favorably affects the function of blood vessels," he said.

"These could explain its effects on recurrence of stroke and heart attack."

He said that whether Actos will ever be used to prevent stroke depends on how these findings are evaluated by the medical community.

"Actos may be an option for patients who have had a stroke or mini-stroke, but its role will have to emerge from a debate among scientists about our results," he said.

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