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Doctors Looking to Make Diabetes Medication More Effective through Clinical Trials

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WESLACO – The diabetes medication you’re taking right now might not be the best treatment for you, according to professionals at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance.

They say this is because of a low Hispanic and Latino turnout in clinical trial studies.

A clinical trial is the FDA-regulated way to test new drugs and treatment devices in patients before they’re approved for the general public.

Doctors with DHR say this is an important step to see how different genders, ages and races react to the medication.

“What is it that’s happening in my patient population that’s lending towards them not responding to the current medication?” Dr. Lisa Trevino proposed.

Dr. Trevino’s the Vice President of Research and Development at DHR.

“You can no longer treat everyone in the same way,” she explained. “Everybody’s different. Your DNA is different than my DNA. And you’re going to respond differently to a medication than I will, maybe. And that difference may be something that will save – or hurt – my life.”

A low Hispanic turnout to trials could mean a direct impact on the effectiveness of medication you take.

DHR reports across the U.S., one in 12 people have diabetes. In the Rio Grande Valley, it’s more like one in three.

Dr. Trevino and her team are trying to figure out how to lower that number. She says she helps organize the team of doctors running clinical trials, Doctors like Dr. Marcel Twahirwa, who specializes in endocrinology.

“We really do not necessarily know how all these medications work in our population,” explained Dr. Twahirwa. “The Latino participation in clinical trials is less than two percent, at best, in all clinical trials in diabetes. We know diabetes affects Latinos more than probably any other population.”

They’re testing a number of different treatments through clinical trial studies.

Dr. Twahirwa oversees several trials looking to identify qualities in a person’s genetics that respond to a particular medication.

“The idea is can we identify those patients who are going to be most responsive to this medication or most responsive to this new device that’s going to help them respond to medication, and maybe help curtail the diabetes, maintain the diabetes or get rid of the diabetes all together?” said Dr. Twahirwa.

DHR says participation in a clinical trial is easy. It’s just like going to a regular doctor’s appointment but more often, especially during the first six months.

If you’re interested in taking part in a trial, talk to your healthcare professional.

Doctors Hospital at Renaissance says you don’t have to be a patient to participate. The clinical trials are free to participate in and in some cases, patients even get a reimbursement.

You can find more information on how you can join here.

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