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Diabetes drug may help prevent second stroke

Staff writer |
The diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone) appears to protect people who've already had a stroke from suffering a second stroke, a new study finds.

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Along with standard treatment after a stroke - including blood thinners, and blood pressure and cholesterol medication - the addition of Actos reduced the odds of another stroke by 24 percent compared to a placebo, the researchers said.

"Actos represents a new option for patients who have had a stroke to help prevent a future stroke," said lead researcher Dr. Walter Kernan, a professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.

For the study, Kernan and colleagues randomly assigned nearly 4,000 patients who had suffered a stroke or a mini-stroke to Actos or a placebo. None of the patients had diabetes but they did have evidence of insulin resistance, putting them at risk for the blood-sugar disease.

Over nearly five years of follow-up, 9 percent of those taking Actos had another stroke or heart attack, compared with nearly 12 percent of those receiving placebo, the researchers found.

Nearly 4 percent of those taking Actos developed diabetes, compared with nearly 8 percent of those taking the placebo, the study showed.


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