(HealthDay News) – For patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D), treatment with salsalate does not improve endothelial function as measured by flow-mediated, endothelium-dependent dilation (FMD), although it is associated with lower glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels and markers of inflammation, according to a study presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 72nd Scientific Sessions, held from June 8–12 in Philadelphia.

Allison B. Goldfine, MD, from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, and colleagues investigated whether salsalate-induced inhibition of inflammation would improve endothelial function in patients with T2D. In an ancillary study to a multicenter, randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of using salsalate to improve glycemia in patients with T2D, 88 participants were allocated to salsalate or placebo. At baseline and three and six months, FMD and endothelium-independent, nitroglycerin-mediated dilation (NTG) of the brachial artery were evaluated. Post-randomization data were available for 75 patients.

At six months, the researchers found no significant difference between the groups in the change in FMD or NTG. In the salsalate group, HbA1c, fasting glucose, and white blood cell count were all significantly reduced, compared to placebo. Total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and urinary albumin were higher in the salsalate versus placebo group, but there was no difference in the change in systolic or diastolic blood pressure.

“Though this anti-inflammatory drug has been around perhaps longer than any other, nobody has ever looked before to see what other properties it might have,” a coauthor said in a statement. “The exciting thing here is that this drug is relatively inexpensive and has been in use for so long for other purposes, such as treating joint pain, and that we believe it is safe. We now have to determine whether the degree to which this drug lowers blood glucose levels is large enough to warrant using it as an addition to the diabetes drug armamentarium.”

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