What are the benefits of bile acid sequestrants in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM)?

Updated: Jul 13, 2021
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Bile acid sequestrants were developed as lipid-lowering agents for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia but were subsequently found to have a glucose-lowering effect. The bile acid sequestrant colesevelam is FDA-approved as an adjunctive therapy to improve glycemic control. It has a favorable, but insignificant, impact on FPG and HbA1c levels. [276]

A study in patients with early type 2 diabetes who were receiving metformin found that the addition of colesevelam reduced HbA1c levels to a degree that was statistically significant but that may have been clinically irrelevant, as no data show that a 0.3% reduction of HbA1c produces a better outcome than a 0.2% reduction of HbA1c. Achievement of LDL cholesterol goals was also improved with the use of colesevelam, but it is not known whether that result correlates with significantly different outcomes in these patients. [277]

Colesevelam is a relatively safe addition to the menu of choices available to reduce LDL cholesterol in patients with prediabetes. It should be avoided in patients with hypertriglyceridemia (a rule that applies to bile acid sequestrants in general).

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