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For diabetics on fast,new drug offers better treatment

Vildagliptin can regulate blood sugar even if people are off food for long stretches of time....

Written by Toufiq Rashid |
August 29, 2009 12:58:40 am

Fasting for diabetics — during Ramdan or other festivals — has been found to be associated with hypoglycaemia,a condition in which sugar levels in blood drops dangerously. The condition can even be life threatening.

But treatment adjustment during fasting has been found to be beneficial,shows a trial reported in the Internal Journal of Clinical Practice.

“This study is extremely relevant in India for Muslims during Ramzan and Hindus during Navratras,during which they go without food for a long time,’’ said Dr Anoop Misra,the Director,Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases,Fortis Hospitals,Delhi.

The study found that a new drug,Vildagliptin,can regulate blood sugar even if people are off food for a long time. The drug acts as a sensory mechanism and induces insulin release from the pancreas only when the glucose levels are high after people have eaten.

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“The drug works by completely switching off the mechanism of insulin release when the sugar is low or the patient has not eaten,’’ said Dr Misra.

Data was collected from Muslim patients with Type 2 diabetes who were attending primary care practices in London.

The patients had higher blood glucose levels despite treatment with Metformin daily before Ramzan. During Ramzan,they were given Vildagliptin twice daily in addition to Metformin.

The doctors recorded the patients’ weight two weeks before and ten days after Ramzan.

The patients were also taught how to identify and manage hypoglyceamia during fasting.

It was found that Vildagliptin was associated with a reduction in the number of hypoglycaemic events during Ramzan. Other treatments were associated was associated with a rise.

“The study concluded that appropriate treatment adjustments can lead to improved diabetes management during Ramzan,” said Dr Misra.

There is an avoidance of significant weight gain and improved glucose control.

“The addition of Vildagliptin to Metformin therapy during Ramadan in Muslim patients with Type 2 diabetes was associated with a reduction in the incidence of hypoglycaemia,’’ Dr Misra added.

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