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An anti-inflammatory drug similar to aspirin that may someday be used in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Researchers now believe that inflammation, part of the body’s immune response to infection and injury, may play a role in the development of Type 2 diabetes. Inflammation may also play a major role in the development of heart attack and stroke by promoting the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque on blood vessel walls.

A small pilot study conducted at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston showed that giving salsalate to six women and three men with poorly controlled Type 2 diabetes decreased their fasting glucose levels from 201 mg/dl to 182 mg/dl and their triglyceride (a type of blood fat) levels from 150 mg/dl to 133 mg/dl.

In 2010, the results came in from a larger trial called Targeting Inflammation Using Salsalate in Type 2 Diabetes (or TINSAL-T2D), funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), conducted at Joslin and 15 other medical institutions across the United States. The researchers found that salsalate helped to lower blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. Researchers also hope that giving salsalate to people with diabetes might decrease their risk of heart disease, a hypothesis that will be tested in a separate clinical trial.

Originally Published November 19, 2009

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