1. ITV Report

Common drug may help diabetes patients recover from heart attacks

Photo: PA

Diabetes patients could be aided in recovering from heart attacks by a common drug already on the market, health researchers have claimed.

Heart disease is the leading cause of illness for people suffering from diabetes, accounting for more than half of all fatalities.

But a study into the drug metformin, a key treatment used by diabetic patients to prevent heart disease, found it enhances the physiological process behind new blood vessel formation, which is essential for heart attack recovery.

The outcome of heart disease interventions in patients with diabetes is much worse in comparison with non-diabetic individuals.

As a result there is a demand for improved treatment approaches to enhance the outcomes of those with diabetes in order to increase heart attack survival rates.

Our research is exciting as it can instantly make a difference to the treatments we are exploring, offering a new approach to heart disease in diabetes and new therapies may now be developed.

It is believed that our study is the first report describing the effect of the physiological concentration of metformin as seen in patients. Furthermore, our study concentrated on the time period vital during a heart attack when, with new therapy, we can help patients most."

– Dr Jolanta Weaver, Newcastle University

The study, done in conjunction with King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, showed that lack of oxygen in the presence of high glucose levels delays blood vessel formation but metformin reverses that process.

Metformin is a drug usually used as a first-line treatment in Type 2 diabetes as it helps to make the body more responsive to insulin.

The International Diabetes Federation has said that 8.3% of adults have diabetes, affecting 382 million worldwide, and it is estimated that this will rise to 592 million by 2035.