Mounting evidence from human, animal, and in vitro studies indicates that existing drugs, developed to treat other disorders, also might be effective in preventing or slowing the progression of diabetic nephropathy to end-stage renal disease. Examples of such drugs include the urate-lowering agent allopurinol, the anti-tumor necrosis factor agents etanercept and infliximab, and the immunomodulating drug abatacept. Because some of these medications are already on the market and have been used for a number of years for other indications, they can be tested immediately in human beings for a beneficial effect on renal function in diabetes. Special emphasis should be placed on evaluating the use of these drugs early in the course of diabetic nephropathy when renal damage is most likely to be reversible and interventions can yield the greatest delay to end-stage renal disease.
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