Objective: Insulin resistance is associated with progression of atherosclerosis. We assessed the effect of 12 months of treatment with rosiglitazone (RSG) on the progression of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) or the insulin resistance syndrome (IRS).
Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Setting: Malmö University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden.
Subjects: 555 subjects (200 with T2DM and 355 nondiabetics with IRS according to EGIR criteria), aged 35-80 years. 447 subjects (165 T2DM and 282 IRS) completed the study.
Intervention: Participants were allocated to placebo or RSG 4 mg for 2 months and then 8 mg daily.
Main outcome measure: Change in composite IMT [mean IMT in the common carotid artery (CCA) and maximal IMT in the bulb] was the primary and various other IMT measures were secondary outcome variables.
Results: There was no effect of RSG treatment in the mixed population. In T2DM patients there was a reduced progression of the composite IMT (mean change: 0.041 vs. 0.070 mm, P = 0.07), and of the mean IMT CCA (mean change: -0.005 mm vs. 0.021 mm, P = 0.007). RSG treatment led to significant reductions of HOMA-IR, fasting plasma glucose, HbA1c, PAI-1 activity, fibrinogen, C-reactive protein and matrix metalloproteinase-9.
Conclusions: In a mixed study population of patients with T2DM and IRS RSG treatment was not associated with a statistically significant reduction of carotid IMT progression rate. Separate analyses of these two patient groups indicated, however, a significant beneficial effect on CCA IMT in T2DM patients but no similar effect in subjects with IRS.