We first reported on salsalate, an aspirin-like drug discovered in the nineteenth century, last October. At that time, researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston discovered that it appears to reduce inflammation and lower blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes.
The encouraging findings of that earlier study have led to the initiation of a full-blown study, “TINSAL-T2D” (Targeting Inflammation with Salsalate in Type 2 Diabetes), for which Joslin researchers are now recruiting participants nationwide. The one-year study will require the participation of 560 adults from the ages of 18 to 75. They must not be using insulin (although one or two oral medications are permissible) and must have poor blood sugar control.
Participants will receive either salsalate or a placebo. Although salsalate is an aspirin-type medicine, it does not cause the stomach upset that aspirin does in many users. This means that TINSAL-T2D participants will have a hard time telling whether they are receiving the actual drug-a boon to researchers concerned about keeping the study results as objective as possible.
The hope is that if salsalate is shown to be effective against high BG levels and inflammation, it will become a cheap and safe addition to the growing pharmacopeia of anti-diabetes drugs. Doctors have used salsalate for years, with no ill effects, to treat arthritic inflammation.
Because inflammation increases the risk of coronary heart disease, the Joslin researchers will also be looking to see if treating type 2s with salsalate reduces the occurrence of heart disease among them.
(To learn more about the study, the link at www.tinsalt2d.org provides a list of study sites. For more information, you can reach the study leader, Allison B. Goldfine, MD, via e-mail at Allison.Goldfine@joslin.harvard.edu.)