Malaria Drug for Type 2 Diabetes?

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ, brand name Plaquenil), a drug long-used to prevent and treat malaria, may have potential as an adjunctive treatment for people with type 2 diabetes, according to new research from India.

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Researchers found that patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes who were taking the medicines vildagliptin and metformin, HCQ significantly reduced A1C levels (a measure of glucose control over the previous 2–3 months) after 24 weeks. The A1C reduction was similar to that of adding the SGLT2 inhibitor canagliflozin (Invokana) to the therapy combination, the investigators noted.

“HCQ is an anti inflammatory drug, which can address residual risk beyond glycemic control, so don’t hesitate to include it as an option,” said researcher Amit Gupta, MD, of the G.D. Diabetes Institute in Kolkata, adding that “inflammation is the [connection] between diabetes and cardiovascular [CV] mortality.”

HCQ has been approved in India as an adjunctive treatment for type 2 diabetes since 2014. It is currently approved in the United States for the treatment of malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. A National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) study involving HCQ is currently recruiting participants at risk of type 1 diabetes.

Want to learn more about type 2 diabetes research? Read “Type 2 Diabetes Research: What’s New?”

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