Study Examines Efficacy Of Common Diabetes Drugs

By Libby Smith

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– A doctor at the University of Colorado Hospital is recruiting Type 2 diabetes patients for a study of the efficacy of common diabetes drugs.

Right now, Metformin is established as a first treatment to regulate blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetics. But over time, Metformin becomes less effective and other drugs need to be added to it.

“We are trying to compare four different medications when added to Metformin for glycemic control,” said Dr. Neda Rasouli, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology at UCH.

Rasouli heads up the GRADE study, which stands for Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness Study. It’s a national study funded by the National Institute of Health. Rasouli hopes the study will help doctors make more informed decisions.

“Our choice is sometimes based on patient insurance… based on the availability of the drug if they can afford it or not, and I don’t think it’s fair,” Rasouli told CBS4.

Linda Torres participates in the study.

“It’s basically just taking the medicine that they’ve given me and watching my diet as always,” Torres explained.

Diabetes patient Linda Torres (credit: CBS)

Diabetes patient Linda Torres (credit: CBS)

Torres was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about 10 years ago, after months of ignoring symptoms like extreme thirst, increased urination, and fatigue. She says when her vision blurred, she finally got help.

“I was in complete denial,” Torres told CBS4.

Torres was on Metformin which controlled her blood sugar effectively for quite some time, until her sugar levels started going up again.

“I was on the highest dose of the Metformin and still stayed in the 200s. It didn’t matter what I did,” Torres said.

Doctors wanted to put her on a companion drug, and that’s when Torres entered the study. Now she takes Victosa with Metformin. As part of the study, she gets her medicines and routine checkups for free.

“I was at a standstill for quite some time and in just a year and a half have made such great strides,” Torres said.

Torres has lost 20 pounds and hopes to lose more weight. Her sugar levels are good and she says she feels better than ever.

If you want more information on this study you can contact the study coordinator, Stephanie Steiner, at 720-848-6473. You can also find additional information on the GRADE Study website.

Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.

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