An experimental pill that controls blood fats as well as blood sugar could be a better treatment for diabetics with high cholesterol even though side effects may be worse than current drugs, researchers said.
If approved by regulators, Pargluva, or muraglitazar, would be the first insulin sensitizer to also target lipids. The drug is being developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck & Co. Inc.
“Most people with diabetes have hypertension and a variety of lipid disorders … that’s why they develop complications, particularly cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Richard Kahn, the American Diabetes Association’s chief scientific and medical officer, said.
Other insulin sensitizers commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes include GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Avandia and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s Actos, or pioglitazone.
More than 18 million Americans have diabetes, a disease in which the body does not produce enough insulin or cells ignore the insulin, which is needed to convert food into energy. The condition can lead to debilitating or fatal complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease and amputations.
“Muraglitazar has been shown to lower blood glucose over two years and significantly lowers triglycerides and raises good cholesterol,” said Dr. David Kendall, study investigator and director of the diabetes center at the University of Minnesota Medical School.