Long-term beneficial effects of glipizide treatment on glucose tolerance in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance

J G Eriksson, M Lehtovirta, B Ehrnström, S Salmela, L Groop
Journal of Internal Medicine 2006, 259 (6): 553-60

AIMS: To assess the efficacy and long-term effects of glipizide treatment on glucose and insulin metabolism in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).

METHODS: Thirty-seven first-degree relatives of patients with type 2 diabetes fulfilling WHO criteria for IGT were randomized to treatment with either glipizide 2.5 mg once daily or matching placebo for 6 months. A 75 g, 2-h oral (OGTT) and 60 min intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) were performed at baseline and after 6 months. The subjects were followed up for another 12 months after discontinuation of treatment and a repeat OGTT was performed at 18 months.

RESULTS: Thirty-three subjects fulfilled the study. Markers of insulin sensitivity - i.e. fasting insulin and HOMA(IR)-index - improved in the glipizide group (P = 0.04 and 0.02 respectively) as well as HDL cholesterol (P = 0.05) compared with placebo group after 6 months. At 18 months, both fasting and 2 h glucose concentrations were significantly lower in the glipizide group compared with the placebo group (P = 0.04 and 0.03 respectively). The prevalence of type 2 diabetes was 29.4% in the placebo group and 5.9% in the glipizide group at 18 months. This equals an 80% relative risk reduction in the active treatment group.

CONCLUSIONS: Short-term treatment with glipizide improves glucose and insulin metabolism in subjects with IGT primarily by improving insulin sensitivity mediated by lowering glucose toxicity, thereby providing the beta cells rest. Larger studies are needed to establish whether these effects are sufficient to prevent progression to manifest type 2 diabetes and associated cardiovascular morbidity in subjects at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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