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Overdose drug may help diabetes patients, UHI researchers say
New research could offer help to people with type 2 diabetes.
It suggests a drug used for reversing the effects of paracetamol overdose has the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease in the patients.
The discovery was made by a team led by Prof Ian Megson at the University of the Highlands and Island's Department of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Science.
The Inverness team's study of the drug N-acetylcysteine was funded by the Chief Scientist Office.
Heart disease is a major cause of reduced life expectancy in patients with diabetes.
Aspirin, the drug normally used to prevent heart attacks, is less effective for people with diabetes before heart disease has been diagnosed, UHI said.
Prof Megson's team looked at N-acetylcysteine's effects on blood platelets, a key component of blood clots.
The clots play a part in causing heart attacks and some forms of stroke.
Blood platelets in people with type 2 diabetes have depleted reserves of an antioxidant called glutathione.
The UHI researchers found that once daily treatment of N-acetylcysteine brought platelet glutathione back to normal and reduced indicators of clot formation in the blood.
Potentially, the licensed drug could be used before heart damage is diagnosed.
The work has been published in the journal Diabetologia.
For more on this story see the BBC News website.