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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2005 Mar;16 Suppl 1:S7-10.

Oral antihyperglycemic agents and renal disease: new agents, new concepts.

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Metabolic Day Centre, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


The results of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) and UK Prospective Diabetes Study trials in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, respectively, have proved the importance of intensive glucose management in the prevention of microvascular complications (retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy). Both trials showed encouraging trends for a decrease in macrovascular complications, and this is being pursued in new studies. These findings have led to more strict goals for glucose control. As glucose levels are aimed to be closer to the normal range, the risk for hypoglycemia also increases dramatically. The choice of the agent therefore is more influenced currently by the risk for hypoglycemia. There are presently four classes of oral antihyperglycemic agents. These agents differ greatly in terms of mechanisms of action, efficacy, side effect profiles, and cost. Except for Acarbose, all classes decrease the glycosylated hemoglobin by a similar magnitude: 1.0 to 1.5%. In chronic renal failure, the oral agents that can be used therefore include the insulin secretagogues repaglinide and nateglinide and the thiazolidinediones (rosiglitazone and pioglitazone) with caution. Insulin also can be used safely in renal failure.

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