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September 8, 2005

Drug may help protect kidneys of type II diabetics

Topics: Medicine

For people with diabetes, kidney damage is a constant danger, especially when their blood pressure is high. Now European researchers report that the addition of a drug, spironolactone, an aldosterone inhibitor, to standard blood pressure-lowering therapy for such patients helps reduce both blood pressure and the amount of albumin protein in urine, a measure of kidney impairment.

Dr. Kaspar Rossing of Steno Diabetes Center in Gentofte, Denmark, and colleagues note in the medical journal Diabetes Care that two types of antihypertensive drugs -- ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) -- have protective effects on the kidneys in diabetics who already have kidney damage. These drugs work by controlling the release of a hormone called aldosterone. While they're effective initially, aldosterone levels may subsequently rise once more in almost 40 percent of patients, resulting in greater urinary protein levels and a faster decline in kidney function.

In the reported study, participants continued on their recommended antihypertensive treatments (which included diuretics, ACE inhibitors and ARBs), they were randomly assigned to take in addition either an inactive placebo or spironolactone for 8 weeks. They then switched to the other pill for another 8 weeks.

During the spironolactone treatment, urinary albumin levels fell by 33 percent, and their upper and lower blood pressure readings fell by 6 and 4 points. These results indicate that, at least in the short-term, spironolactone may offer beneficial renal and cardiovascular protection.

Tags: Diabetes,

Posted by Richard at September 8, 2005 7:40 PM

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