Author(s): Sajesh Kuruvilla Joseph and CI.Sajeeth*
Bile sequestrants have been used for almost 50 years to lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Over the past 15 years, many novel and emerging drugs have made it possible to achieve optimal glycemic control, generally in combination therapy, without untoward effects of weight gain, hypoglycemia, and other adverse effects with traditional agents. Although the long-term efficacy and safety of some of the newer classes of agents are yet to be determined, bile acid sequestrants represent a unique long-standing class of agents. Colesevelam HCl is the only drug approved for this dual indication and is an adjunct in the treatment of both hyperglycemia and hypercholesterolemia that frequently co-exist in adults with T2DM.The advent of colesevelam in 2000 provided a more tolerable add-on LDL-C-lowering agent with an excellent safety record and with likely benefit for coronary heart disease events. Colesevelam lowers LDL-C approximately 15%, and has an additive effect when combined with statin or non-statin lipid-modifying agents. It also tends to increase triglyceride levels. The discovery that bile sequestrants also lower glucose levels led to definitive large-scale clinical trials testing the effect of colesevelam as a dual antihyperglycemic agent with LDL-C-lowering properties in type 2 diabetic subjects on metformin-, sulfonylurea-or insulin-based therapy with inadequate glycemic control. Colesevelam was well tolerated, with constipation being the most common adverse effect, and did not cause weight gain or excessive hypoglycemia. Colesevelam thus combines antihyperglycemic action with LDL-C-lowering properties, and should be useful in the management of type 2 diabetes.