In a study from the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, the lipid-regulating drug, gem-fibrozil (Lopid), was found to significantly improve triglyceride (blood fat) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels in a group of type 2 diabetes patients. Lipid disorders are a major cause of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), a condition which accounts for the majority of diabetes-related deaths. The ability to control stable lipid levels would greatly reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
The results of the gemfibrozil study, which included both male and female non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) patients, found a 26% reduction in elevated triglyceride levels and a 12% increase in HDL levels, regardless of the patient’s diabetes therapy. The total cholesterol was also significantly reduced from 235 mg/dl to 220 mg/dl.
A previous study from Helsinki, Finland, had shown gemfibrozil to produce a significant overall reduction in heart disease in the drug-treated group. The results of this study, combined with the triglyceride and HDL study, give support to the possibility that gemfibrozil is a powerful contender in the fight to lower the rate of heart disease in type 2 diabetes patients.