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Study Finds Pill Can Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

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Aired 3/24/11

A new study found a medication used to treat people with Type 2 diabetes can actually prevent those at risk from getting the disease. The research was conducted in San Diego and in seven other cities nationwide.

— A new study found a medication used to treat people with type 2 diabetes can actually prevent those at risk from getting the disease. The research was conducted in San Diego and in seven other cities nationwide.

The study compared the daily use of the drug pioglitazone with a placebo, on people who had a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

After three years, people who took the drug had a 72 percent lower rate of developing the disease.

Dr. Robert Henry was the principal investigator for the San Diego wing of the trial. He said the results sent a strong message.

"Efforts to reduce insulin resistance, whether they be by lifestyle modification and diet, or by medications, has beneficial effects for those at high risk," Henry said.

He pointed out only about a third of people with prediabetes go on to develop the condition. So he said the drug would not be appropriate for everyone at high risk.

More than 8 percent of Americans have diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 2 million people were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last year.

Obesity is a risk factor. Certain ethnic groups, including African-Americans and Mexican-Americans, have a high risk of developing the disease.

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