This outdated diabetes drug still has something to offer

Key Takeaways

  • Researchers have discovered the biochemical workings of an old-fashioned drug for type 2 diabetes.
  • The research is helping the scientists develop new, safer alternatives to the drug.

Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) are a class of drug that can be used to treat type 2 diabetes by reversing insulin resistance, one of the main hallmarks of the disease. While TZDs were extremely popular in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, they have fallen out of use among physicians in recent decades because they were discovered to cause unwanted side effects, including weight gain and excess fluid accumulation in body tissues. Now, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine are exploring how to isolate the positive effects of these drugs, which could help yield new treatments that don’t come with the old side effects. In a study published in Nature Metabolism, the researchers showed how one of the most well-known TZD drugs works at the molecular level and were able to replicate its positive effects in mice without giving them the drug itself. While the method they used in the study would not be practical therapeutically, the knowledge gained “makes it possible to develop drugs that can mimic these effects,” said Jerrold Olefsky, M.D., a professor of medicine and assistant vice chancellor for integrative research at UC San Diego Health Sciences.

Source: University of California San Diego, ScienceDaily, April 11, 2024; see source article