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Combined pioglitazone and metformin treatment maintains the beneficial effect of short-term insulin infusion in patients with type 2 diabetes: results from a pilot study.

Author(s): Musholt PB, Schondorf T, Pfutzner A, Hohberg C, Kleine I, Fuchs W, Hehenwarter S, Dikta G, Kerschgens B, Forst T

Affiliation(s): Institute for Clinical Research and Development, Mainz, Germany.

Publication date & source: 2009-11-01, J Diabetes Sci Technol., 3(6):1442-50.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

BACKGROUND: The aim of our study was to examine the efficacy of short-term intravenous insulin intervention followed by oral pioglitazone/metformin therapy to prevent patients from continuous insulin application. METHODS: This prospective, open-label, 4-month pilot study comprised of 14 diabetes patients (5 female, 9 male; age 60 +/- 2 years; body mass index 29 +/- 3.2 kg/m(2); hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c] 7.6 +/- 1.1%) with (1) insufficient glycemic control under a dose of metformin >or=1700 mg/day and/or metformin plus additional oral antidiabetes drugs (OADs) and (2) appropriate residual beta-cell function. Initially, an inpatient 34 h continuous intravenous insulin infusion was performed, and metformin was given (2x 850 mg/day). Insulin was stopped, and pioglitazone 30 mg/day was added at the second inpatient day. Patients were followed for four months. Efficacy parameters [change of HbA1c, fasting blood glucose [FBG], intact proinsulin, adiponectin, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP)] were assessed after initial normalization of blood glucose values by intravenous insulin and at the study end point. RESULTS: During the acute insulin intervention, FBG levels were stabilized in all study subjects. In the following OAD treatment period, five patients showed an improvement of HbA1c > 0.5% [35.7%; seven patients remained stable (50.0%), two patients were nonresponders (14.3%)]. Fasting glucose values dropped after insulin infusion (-17.7%; p < .001). This effect was maintained during the consecutive OAD treatment period (glucose +0.3%, not significant (NS); HbA1c -6.0%; p < .05). The initial decrease in fasting intact proinsulin levels was also maintained during the study (end value -41%, p < .05). Improvements in hsCRP values (postinsulin value, -15%, NS; end value -37%; p < .05) and adiponectin values (postinsulin value +15%, NS; end value +128%; p < .001) were demonstrated at end point only after continued glitazone intake. CONCLUSIONS: Our pilot study demonstrated that a beneficial effect of a short-term intravenous insulin application on glycemic control was effectively maintained by pioglitazone/metformin treatment for at least 4 months. In addition, the oral therapy significantly improved cardiovascular risk parameters.

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