Islets of Hope for persons with prediabetes

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Article by Lahle Wolfe, 03/25/2006.  For reprint information e-mail


American Diabetes Association: What is prediabetes?

NIH Publication:  Insulin Resistance and Pre-diabetes

Confused?  See our Chart Comparison between Insulin Resistance, Insulin Resistance Syndrome (IRS), Prediabetes, Types 1 and 2 Diabetes, and Gestational Diabetes detailing the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of these major metabolic disorders.

Lifestyle Changes -  Diet, Exercise, Sports, Stress Management

Did You Know?

... that the diabetes drug Glucophage (metformin), a biguanide, reduced the risk of diabetes in those with prediabetes but was less successful than simply losing weight and increasing activity? (NIH DPP Study) See our Lifestyles section to learn how you can improve your health without medication.

... that prediabetes increases your risk of getting type 2 diabetes and of having heart disease or a stroke?

... that prediabetes can be reversed without insulin or medication by losing a modest amount of weight and increasing your physical activity?  

... that an international expert committee of the American Diabetes Association recently redefined the criteria for prediabetes, lowering the blood sugar level cut-off point for pre-diabetes?

Approximately 20% more adults are now believed to have this condition and may develop diabetes within 10 years if they do not exercise or maintain a healthy weight.


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Medications for treatment of prediabetes
previously known as impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)

    Medications used in treating prediabetes and insulin resistance

    There are two classes of drugs or prescription drugs that improve response to insulin and are used for treatment of type 2 diabetes.  Some, may also be used in the treatment of insulin resistance or prediabetes.  The most commonly prescribed for prediabetes is Glucophage (metformin).

    One of the newer medications approved for treatment of type 2 diabetes is BYETTA.  Although not approved for use other than for type 2 diabetes, this injected drug is sometimes prescribed "off label" for treating insulin resistance and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

    Biguanides - The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) showed that the drug Glucophage (metformin), a biguanide, reduced the risk of diabetes in those with prediabetes by 31% but was still much less successful than simply losing weight and increasing activity.

    Thiazolidinediones - In another study, treatment with troglitazone (Rezulin), a thiazolidinedione (later withdrawn from the market following reports of liver toxicity and deaths) delayed or prevented type 2 diabetes in Hispanic women with a history of gestational diabetes.

    There are also other medicines used for diabetes that work differently.  Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (like Acarbose) restrict or delay the absorption of carbohydrates after eating, resulting in a slower rise of blood glucose levels. Sulfonylureas and meglitinides increase insulin production.

    Note:  Although often prescribed, no drug has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically for insulin resistance or prediabetes.  

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    Page Updated 09/01/2006