Monday, June 8, 2009

New drug to treat diabetes, study says

A newly developed diabetes drug is more effective than older available medication in helping patients control their blood sugar levels, a study says.

According to the study presented on Sunday at the ADA scientific meeting, once-daily liraglutide, taken as monotherapy, helps diabetics reach and maintain their target blood sugar levels more effectively compared with the commonly used glimepiride -- belonging to an old class known as sulfonylureas.

The injectable liraglutide belongs to a newer GLP-1 class and works by stimulating the release of insulin only when blood sugar levels are high.

Novo Nordisk A/S's experimental diabetes drug is reported to work better than glimepiride in lowering the A1C levels -- used to measure the average plasma glucose concentration over prolonged periods of time.

"People overall lose weight with liraglutide. That's a significant value-added benefit to this class of drugs," said Alan Garber, the lead researcher of the study.

While nausea, diarrhea and vomiting were the most common side effects of liraglutide, hypoglycemia -- dangerously low blood sugar -- was rarely reported following the use of this agent.

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