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A New Approach to Treating Diabetes

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Giving patients control over their own medicine is a novel strategy for managing type 2 diabetes that is shown in a recent study.
By giving patients control over their own medicine, a recent large-scale trial known as the Trimaster study offers a breakthrough method of managing type 2 diabetes. In the first trial of its sort, people with type 2 diabetes who have tried three different medications in a row can now choose the treatment they want to take. The study’s findings imply that this strategy might be a novel means of determining the best course of treatment for patients.

Researchers at the University of Exeter were in charge of the Medical Research Council-funded trial, which comprised delivering 3 routinely prescribed medications to 448 individuals with type 2 diabetes over the course of 3 separate 16-week periods. The impact of each medication on the patient’s weight and blood glucose levels was observed by the researchers, who also noted any side effects. Patients had the option to select the medication that performed the best for them at the conclusion of the trial, which was just published in Nature Medicine. Their chosen medication not only successfully reduced blood sugar levels but also had fewer negative effects.

A New Approach to Treating Diabetes


“Having the proper therapy for diabetes is crucial to getting the greatest outcomes, and keeping a decent quality of life,” lead author Dr. Beverley Shields of the University of Exeter stated. In order to determine which common medications work best for persons with type 2 diabetes, our study is the first to ask participants to test each one in turn. Even before they knew the findings, we discovered that the treatment people selected was typically the one that provided them the best blood sugar management.

Tim Keehner, a participant from North Devon, was given a type 2 diabetes diagnosis 15 years ago. Since the marketing expert’s blood sugar was too high, he was recruited in the trial.

“Three medications were administered to me. The first two didn’t help me at all, and one of them really made me feel worse. Fortunately, I noticed a difference as soon as I took the third dose. I had more energy and knew it was the perfect medication for me. I’m still using it today, and it’s wonderful to be able to play all the sports I enjoy.

More than four million individuals in the UK have type 2 diabetes, which is a leading cause of illness and mortality. Additionally, it represents 10% of NHS spending. Lowering blood sugar levels can significantly lessen the complications related to diabetes. There are numerous medications that lower blood sugar, and while they are all generally successful, the amount by which they drop blood sugar and whether they cause adverse effects will vary from patient to patient. It’s challenging to select the best medication for a patient.

This is the first study where the same patient has tried three different types of glucose-lowering medication, allowing them to directly compare them and then decide which one is best for them, according to diabetes consultant Professor Andrew Hattersley CBE of the University of Exeter, who oversaw the research. We have demonstrated that the patient’s preference leads to better glucose management and fewer adverse effects than any alternative strategy. Patients should try each drug before selecting one when it’s unclear which is best to utilise. Surprisingly, nobody has ever tried that strategy before.

Patients in the trial received sitagliptin, canagliflozin, and pioglitazone as the three medications.

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