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Back To Vidyya In People With Type 2 Diabetes

Xenical (Orlistat) May Help Reduce Heart Disease Risk

People with type 2 diabetes who take the weight-reducing medication Xenical(R) (orlistat) may significantly reduce their long-term risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new study presented here today at the American Heart Association's annual scientific session.

In the study, people with type 2 diabetes who took Xenical lowered their estimated 10-year risk of heart disease by nearly 20 percent -- about the same as people on Xenical who do not have diabetes -- despite losing 40 percent fewer pounds than those who do not have diabetes. Although weight and weight gain have been associated with greater heart disease risk, researchers suspect that Xenical's ability to keep fats from being absorbed into the bloodstream may be why Xenical was able to lower heart disease risk even with modest amounts of weight loss.

"Weight loss is a healthy goal for everyone who is obese, but it's not always easy for people with type 2 diabetes to lose weight," said lead investigator Peter Wilson, MD, professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and director of laboratories, Framingham Heart Study. "This study suggests a potential new way to help people with diabetes reduce their chances of a heart problem - before it's too late."

Most doctors recommend weight loss for the nearly 100 million Americans who are overweight, a condition that is associated with cardiovascular disease. Being overweight also is associated with type 2 diabetes, a disease that affects 15 million Americans. Until now, obese people with type 2 diabetes have faced an uphill battle because losing weight has been shown to be more difficult in this condition.

The study also found that Xenical lowered the estimated risk of heart disease significantly more than placebo in both diabetics and non-diabetics. Weight loss also was significantly greater in people who took Xenical, regardless of whether or not they had diabetes.

This study compared the results of two randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled one-year trials that measured Xenical's effect on weight loss and coronary heart disease risk in people with at least one risk factor for heart disease. In one study, 242 people with type 2 diabetes took either Xenical plus diet or placebo plus diet. All patients followed a reduced-calorie diet, and also took a diabetes drug throughout the study to control blood sugar levels. The second study compared Xenical with placebo in 1,074 people on reduced-calorie diets who did not have diabetes. Heart disease risk was measured in both studies at the onset of the study and one year after weight loss with Xenical plus diet or after diet alone according to Framingham Heart Study calculations.

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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