Tulane seeks volunteers to participate in diabetes drug comparison study

July 3, 2013

Arthur Nead
Phone: 504-247-1443


Dr. Vivian Fonseca leads Tulane participation in a nationwide diabetes drug comparison study. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Tulane University is one of 37 centers participating in a nationwide five-year study to compare the effectiveness of diabetes drugs.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness (GRADE) study needs volunteers to test the risks and benefits of four diabetes drugs widely used in combination with metformin, the most common first-line medication for treating type 2 diabetes.

If metformin is not enough to help manage type 2 diabetes, doctors may add one of several other drugs to lower blood sugar levels. But while short-term studies have shown the effectiveness of different drugs used with metformin, there have been no long-term studies of which combination works best and has fewer side effects.

“What is added is frequently arbitrary and not based on good evidence,” says Dr. Vivian Fonseca, professor of medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine and principal investigator for the Tulane study site. “Therefore ‘comparative effectiveness research’ at this stage of diabetes is very important in helping appropriately drive treatment decisions.”

Researchers at Tulane and the other centers want people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the last five years. The volunteers may be on metformin, but not on any other diabetes medication. During the study, participants will take metformin along with a second medication randomly assigned from among four classes of medications. During the study participants will receive all of their diabetes medications free of charge, including at least four medical visits per year.

"We are pleased and excited that NIH has selected Tulane University to conduct this important trial in New Orleans,” says Fonseca. “We will conduct the study through the NIH-funded Clinical Trials Unit at Tulane and also in New Orleans community clinics, bringing research-evaluating treatments to the community. The results of the trial are likely to help guide us in treatment decisions in the future."
For information on participating in the study, call 504-988-0200 or click here.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000