Patients with type 2 diabetes reduced their risk of having a foot amputated by 36 percent when they took fenofibrate, a drug designed to lower blood fat levels.
An Australian research team at the National Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Centre at the University of Sydney tracked 9,795 type 2s, ages 50 to 75, over a five-year period. Half took 200 mg of fenofibrate daily, while the other half took a placebo.
At the end of the study, the risk of a first amputation among patients taking fenofibrate was 36 percent lower than among those taking the placebo. Researchers also noted that fenofibrate takers had a 47 percent lower risk of amputations below the ankle of feet that did not have large-vessel disease.
(Large vessel disease is caused by atherosclerosis of large arteries, usually the result of cardiovascular disease, as opposed to the microvascular disease commonly found in people with type 2.)
The beneficial aspects of fenofibrate consumption seemed to emerge after 1.5 years of continuous use. However, despite the notably encouraging reduction in the risk for below-the-ankle amputations, taking fenofibrate produced no reduction in the risk for above-the-ankle amputations.