In patients with HIV, a diabetes drug may have benefits beyond lowering blood sugar. A new study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests the drug may prevent cardiovascular problems because it works to reduce inflammation linked to heart disease and stroke in these patients.Although infection with human immunodeficiency virus is no longer a death sentence, people with the virus have an elevated risk of heart attacks and diabetes, and problems with glucose, insulin and cholesterol. Part of what drives that risk is chronic inflammation.In the new study, the researchers found that the diabetes drug sitagliptin (brand name Januvia) both improved metabolism and reduced inflammation in HIV-positive adults taking antiretroviral therapy. The findings are published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
“The goal has been to identify treatments that not only address problems with blood sugar and lipids but also can lower inflammation, which can play a substantial role in heart disease and stroke,” said principal investigator Kevin E. Yarasheski, PhD, a professor of medicine.
“With sitagliptin, sugar levels fell, and several markers of immune activation and inflammation were reduced, indicating the drug may provide long-term benefits for these patients’ hearts, bones and livers.”
Featured article originally published at Washington University Newsroom: Diabetes drug may reduce heart attack risk in HIV patients