THE Coffs Coast is at the forefront of diabetes research.
Toormina GP Dr Ian Arthur has returned from the Australian Diabetes Society and Australian Diabetes Educators Association conference in Perth where he presented a case study carried out on a local patient.
He was the only general practitioner to present at the event, flanked by endocrinologists and other specialists.
Dr Arthur used the drug Acarbose to better manage the blood glucose levels of the 73-year-old type 2 diabetes patient.
"It's a drug that's been available for a long time, but has gone out of fashion with GPs as newer drugs have come onto the market," said Dr Arthur.
It brings blood glucose levels down when taken with meals.
"Two months after starting the therapy, the patient's glucose levels were under control and he had lost 8kg.
"His quality of life was greatly improved."
Dr Arthur said the best part about the use of the tablet was it reduced the number of injections a patient needed across the day.
The drug does come with an unwanted side effect, increased wind.
But Dr Arthur says that was minimised in his trial by starting the drug at low levels and gradually increasing the dose.
Dr Arthur says Acarbose is used widely in Europe, New Zealand and Asia but very little in Australia.
He hopes to highlight the drug's benefits to other GPs by expanding his research.
A larger trial is now in the works involving at least 20 local type 2 diabetes patients.
Dr Arthur is also hoping to launch a separate study into the co-ordination and delivery of care by GPs for type 2 diabetes sufferers.