Diabetes Drug May Prevent Recurring Strokes
Pioglitazone, a drug used for type 2 diabetes, may prevent recurrent stroke and heart attacks in people with insulin resistance but without diabetes. The results of the Insulin Resistance Intervention after Stroke (IRIS) trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest a potential new method to prevent stroke and heart attack in high-risk patients who have already had one stroke or transient ischemic attack. This large, international study was supported by NINDS.
The IRIS trial is the first study to provide evidence that a drug targeting cell metabolism may prevent secondary strokes and heart attacks even before diabetes develops. Insulin regulates metabolism and keeps blood sugar levels from getting too high, along with many other processes, in the body. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively.
“This study represents a novel approach to prevent recurrent vascular events by reversing a specific metabolic abnormality thought to increase the risk for future heart attack or stroke,” said NINDS director Dr. Walter Koroshetz.
“The IRIS trial supports the value of more research to test the vascular benefits of other interventions such as exercise, diet and medications that have similar effects on metabolism as pioglitazone,” said lead author of the study Dr. Walter Kernan of Yale University School of Medicine.