In a bid to develop treatment for COVID-19, a drug for type 2 diabetes is suggested to find use, says medical knowledge. Sitagliptin – a drug to lessen blood sugar in type 2 diabetes – is suggested to boost survival in diabetic patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, according to a multicenter observational study.
Clinically, patients who were administered sitagliptin along with insulin had 18 percent mortality rate, compared to 37 percent for diabetic patients who were administered only insulin. The study involved seven hospitals in Italy during the first occurrence of COVID-19 in the spring.
“It seems reasonable to administer sitagliptin if a patient with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 is admitted to the hospital,” says a diabetes researcher associated with the University of Milan. The findings are exciting, as there are very few therapeutic options for diabetic patients with COVID-19.
Sitagliptin to find use for nondiabetic too
Meanwhile, based on the action of sitagliptin, it could also work in nondiabetic patients with COVID-19, say the team of researchers.
For its pharmaceutical classification, sitagliptin is classified as a group of drugs known as DPP-4. It is estimated to be prescribed to 15 to 20 percent patients with type 2 diabetes. Approved by the FDA in 2006, the drug lowers blood sugar by obstructing the receptor for DPP-4 enzyme.
Recent studies recommend that DPP-4 may help with coronavirus to get into the respiratory cells. Besides blocking DPP-4, sitagliptin displays anti-inflammatory effects, thus reducing the production of cytokine IL-6. This compound is known to contribute to cytokine storm that can may cause organ secondary problems in COVID-19 patients.
Further, sitagliptin may have a third benefit: to keep blood sugar low.