Lizard Spit Drug Treats Type 2 Diabetes
Drug Derived From Gila Monster Saliva Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes
Good Blood Sugar Control continued...
Both studies involved people with type 2 diabetes who were unable to control their blood sugars despite receiving a maximal dose of the drug Glucophage. In the second study, the patients were also taking a different type of diabetes drug, called a sulfonylurea. Both studies ran for 30 weeks.
In the first study, people who received the 10 microgram dose of exenatide achieved a level of blood sugar control that met American Diabetes Association guidelines for adults with diabetes. People receiving the study drug also showed significant reductions in HbA1c (a measure of blood sugars) at week 30 compared with before week 1.
People who received the medication also lost weight during the study -- about 6 pounds in the 10 microgram group and about 3.5 pounds in the 5 microgram group. In contrast, patients on placebo lost less than 1 pound.
In the second study, involving 773 patients who had poor blood sugar control despite taking both Glucophage and a sulfonylurea, about a third of the people who took the 10 microgram dose had normal blood sugar levels at study end.
Side effects from the medication included nausea in about half of the patients. Dangerously low blood sugar levels as a result of the drug, a condition known as hypoglycemia, was infrequent in both studies.
The researchers also showed that after a full year of treatment, the drug continued its effect on weight loss and blood sugar control.
But another study also presented at the meeting suggests that exenatide may get a run for its money.
An experimental drug called LAF237 was also successful in controlling blood sugars compared with placebo in 107 patients in a Swedish study. Unlike exenatide, which needs to be given in injections twice a day, LAF237 is a pill. It works by preventing the action of an enzyme that normally breaks down GLP-1 in the body and causes most of it to be flushed out of the body in urine.
Neither exenatide nor LAF237 has received approval for sale by the FDA.