Preliminary research hints that patients taking Altace (ramipril) reduced their chances of getting diabetes by more than 30 percent. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In the study roughly 6,000 patients over age 55 randomly received either a placebo or ramipril for an average of about 4 1/2 years. The study was funded by the Research Council of Canada, the Stroke Foundation of Ontario and several drug companies.
Dr. John Buse, director of the diabetes care center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, said extensive ramipril might indeed protect against diabetes, "but without the exact right study, it's hard to take this to the bank." ACE inhibitors like Altace block formation of angiotensin, an enzyme involved in regulating blood pressure. Researchers think the drug's effects on blood vessels may improve functioning of the pancreas and reduce insulin resistance. Diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce or properly use insulin.
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