New Drug to Cut Flab of Diabetics
New Delhi Obese diabetics will soon have a better option to reduce their weight and consequently their blood sugar levels, with a new drug, Victoza (liraglutide), all set to be launched in India this month.
Already launched in Europe and the US, the drug will hit the stores in India — one of the countries with the highest disease burden and which has over 650 brands of anti-diabetic drugs already available — on June 6. Victoza by Novo Nordisk, according to doctors, will be another option to injectable Byetta, introduced in 2008, and other oral weight-reducing diabetes drugs.
While Victoza will also be injectable, it is an improvement over the other anti-diabetes drugs used to reduce weight like Januvia and Metformin, say doctors. Their opinion is based on a recent study published in the Lancet, which compared Victoza with Januvia.
The study suggested that Victoza “produced greater reductions” than Januvia. The study was a 26-week randomised trial, comparing safety and efficacy of two recommended doses of Victoza (1.2 and 1.8 mg) with one daily dose of Januvia (100 mg), all added to Metformin.
The study was conducted in Europe and North America on 665 people with type II diabetes.
Says Dr Anoop Misra, Director and Head (Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases), Fortis hospitals: “It will be a good drug for obese diabetics — one step ahead of other weight-reducing Metformin, which reduces 1-2 kgs of weight, and Byetta, which reduces about 3-4 kgs of weight.”
Dr Misra says Victoza, however, cannot be compared with insulin as Victoza doesn’t produce “very low blood sugar levels”. “Though the drug has been evaluated for three years, in real-life situation we do not have more details. While the experiment on animals has reported thyroid tumours, in humans no such problem is reported but one needs to be cautious. Nausea may also be a side effect in 20 per cent of the people,” he adds.
In April 2009, a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee expressed its concern that the drug may cause thyroid tumours in mice and rats. In January 2010, however, the FDA approved Victoza for the treatment of type II diabetes in adults.
The drug has been approved as an auxiliary treatment to diet and exercise to enhance glycaemic control in adults suffering from type II diabetes.
June 16, 2010