Glycemic control and prevention of secondary complications are the most important goals of using pharmacologic treatment of diabetes mellitus (DM). The inadequate responses to oral hypoglycemic agents may be attributed to inadequate postreceptor events even when insulin levels are quite sufficient, and associated with oxidative stress induced by long-term hyperglycemia. The administration of antioxidants such as melatonin and zinc may improve tissue responses to insulin and increase the efficacy of drugs, e.g. metformin, which act through this pathway. This project was designed to evaluate the effects of melatonin and zinc on the lipid profile and renal function in type 2 DM patients poorly controlled with metformin. A placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial was performed in which 46 type 2 diabetic patients were selected and allocated into three groups.
These groups were treated with single daily oral doses of both 10 mg of melatonin and 50 mg of zinc acetate alone: 10 mg of melatonin and 50 mg of zinc acetate in addition to the regularly used metformin or placebo, given at bedtime for 90 days. Fasting lipid profiles and microalbuminuria (MAU) were measured before initiating the treatments (zero time) and after 30 and 90 days of treatment. Daily administration of melatonin and zinc improved the impaired lipid profile and decreased the level of MAU; the addition of this treatment regimen in combination with metformin improved the tissue responses to this oral hypoglycemic agent. In conclusion, the combination of melatonin and zinc acetate, when used alone or in combination with metformin, improves DM-related complications such as the impaired lipid profile and MAU in type 2 DM patients.