BUFFALO, N.Y., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- A drug prescribed to help patients with type 2 diabetes improve blood-sugar control also has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Paresh Dandona, a professor at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said the study of the drug exenatide, or Byetta, was designed after past observations indicated an anti-inflammatory effect, reducing plasma C-reactive protein levels, triglycerides and systolic blood pressure.
"Our most important finding was this rapid, anti-inflammatory effect, which may lead to the inhibition of atherosclerosis, the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and gangrene in diabetics," Dandona, the senior author, said in a statement.
It was noteworthy the anti-inflammatory effect occurred independently of weight loss over the 12-week study period, Dandona said.
Dr. Ajay Chaudhuri said obesity is an inflammatory state and adipose tissue contributes to inflammation. If a person loses weight it can lead to an anti-inflammatory effect.
"The fact that the drug caused this dramatic and comprehensive anti-inflammatory effect independent of weight loss shows that it is a primary action of the drug and is not dependent upon weight loss," Chaudhuri, the lead author, said. "Even more importantly, a short-lived anti-inflammatory effect was observed within 2 hours following a single injection of 5 micrograms of the drug. This coincides with the peak concentration of the drug after the injection. Such a rapid and dramatic effect is rare."
The study was published recently in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.