28 June 2010
By Rupali Mukherjee
Researchers found that a long–acting medication, Exenatide, if injected once a week, improved blood sugar control and induced weight loss in type 2 diabetics. The study, which was conducted at VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam, has been reported in the latest issue of medical journal ‘Lancet’, and will be discussed at the ongoing American Diabetes Association’s session in Orlando.
A cross–section of doctors whom TOI spoke to pointed out that newer treatments are constantly needed for curing diabetes as first–line drugs fail to have the desired impact over a period of time, or may have serious side–effects. What is needed is drugs that are convenient, provide effective glycaemic control, and do not cause weight gain.
The weekly Exenatide shot is good news for patients who have uncontrolled sugar despite maximum doses of conventional anti–diabetic drugs. Those who are obese or prone to recurrent low sugars (hypoglycemia) may particularly benefit from it, doctors pointed out. The study says that the new formulation of Exenatide may be better for patients than once–daily insulin shot (Glargine), as the latter leads to weight gain.
In this 26–week randomised study, the authors of the ‘Lancet’ article, Dr Anoop Misra, Fortis Hospital, New Delhi, and Dr Shashank Joshi, Lilavati, and Bhatia Hospitals, Mumbai, compared once–weekly Exenatide and insulin Glargine in adults with type 2 diabetes who had inadequate blood sugar control despite use of first–line anti–diabetic drugs for three months or longer. In the study, Professor Michaela Diamant and colleagues had tested the new formulation of Exenatide on 456 patients (233 once–weekly Exenatide, 223 insulin Glargine).
The doctors say that once weekly Exenatide for type 2 diabetes is more convenient and induces better blood sugar control, and more weight loss than second–line treatment of daily insulin Glargine. Glargine, which has to be injected daily, led to weight gain of 1.4 kg per patient.
Diabetologist Dr A Ramachandran says, The quality of life (of a patient) improves drastically with once a week insulin shot, but it may work in certain patients only.