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30th January 2020

Managing risks of common diabetes drug

Managing risks of common diabetes drug

New study aims to prevent diabetic ketoacidosis.

An important new study aims to prevent complications for some Type 2 diabetes sufferers who take the common anti-diabetic drug class: sodium glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitor (SGLT2i).

Many people might not know that a sometimes-fatal condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious side effect for people who take SGLT2i, particularly when undergoing surgery.

DKA occurs when the body produces dangerously high levels of acids called ketones in the blood, with roughly two to three cases a week seen across the The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH) and Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).

The new study is a collaboration between TQEH endocrinologists Dr David Jesudason and Dr Emily Meyer, anaesthetist Dr Venkatesan Thiruvenkatarajan with Professor Michael Roberts and Dr Lorraine Mackenzie from UniSA at the Basil Hetzel Institute, along with UQld PhD student, Suleman Khan.

The research is funded by The Hospital Research Foundation and aims to prevent DKA by better understanding why some patients develop the condition and how they are best treated in the lead up to surgery.

“These are very useful drugs and we don’t want people to stop taking them, but we do need to find out more about the risks of developing DKA and manage it safely,” endocrinologist Dr David Jesudason said.

The new drug class has revolutionised the management of type 2 diabetes and reduces the risk of heart and kidney disease, so this work could be lifesaving for the two million Australians at risk of Type 2 diabetes!