Chronic Kidney Disease: A Diabetes Drug Could Slow Progression

According to a story from the Knowridge Science Report, a recent study conducted by the Japanese Kumamoto University indicates that a therapy commonly used to treat diabetes, called metformin, can slow the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Diabetes is considered a risk factor for the disease, and the researchers believe that low dose of metformin combined with other commonly used treatments, such as losartan, could be very effective.

About Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Chronic kidney disease is an illness in which the functionality of the kidneys is affected over time. This progressive disease can occur over a period of months or years and often results in eventual kidney failure. This disease often causes no symptoms at first. There are a number of risk factors for chronic kidney disease, such as diabetes, glomerulonephritis, family history, and high blood pressure. The cause is not known in all cases. As the disease progresses, symptoms such as leg swelling, confusion, fatigue, vomiting, loss of appetite, heart disease, bone disease, anemia, and high blood pressure may appear. Treatment may include dietary changes, certain medications, and, in later stages, dialysis or kidney transplant. The most common cause of death for people with the illness is cardiovascular disease, which may appear before the kidneys completely shut down. To learn more about chronic kidney disease, click here.

Study Results

The researchers in this study specifically focused on patients living with Alport syndrome. This is an uncommon genetic condition that leads to kidney disease and failure. Metformin has been observed in previous studies to have benefit for a variety of conditions that involve fibrosis (scarring) and inflammation. It improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which makes it an effective option for type 2 diabetes.

The scientists found that treatment with metformin or losartan was able to successfully reduce serum creatinine and proteinuria, two well-known indicators of kidney disease. Fibrosis and inflammation were also reduced. Metformin was found to have a different mechanism of action compared to losartan and was better at addressing metabolic abnormalities.

An evaluation of a low-dose combination of the two drugs improved survival in a mouse model of Alport syndrome. The researchers believe that these findings indicate that metformin should be evaluated as a combination treatment with losartan for chronic kidney disease.

Check out the original study here.

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