Combining exenatide with insulin may be ‘best result ever' for diabetes patients

This press release is an announcement submitted by UNC Healthcare, and was not written by Diabetes Health.

Dec 27, 2010

A new study finds that combining the newer diabetes drug exenatide with insulin provides better blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes than insulin alone and helps promote weight loss.

"This study may be the best result ever for patients whose diabetes is inadequately controlled on a combination of pills and insulin," said John Buse, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

"Until now, it was inconceivable that you could get such patients under excellent control with weight loss and no significant problems with hypoglycemia," Buse said.

Type 2 diabetes is a devastating disease, a leading contributor to blindness, amputations, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and even cancer. But the most powerful diabetes drug, a formulation of insulin called Lantus, is associated with weight gain and low blood sugar reactions that may limit the success of more intensive treatment.

Exenatide (brand name: Byetta) is a newer diabetes drug whose active ingredient was first discovered in the saliva of the Gila monster, a large lizard from the Arizona desert. "It has the advantages of not leading to low blood sugar and in fact promotes weight loss," Buse said.

"Because Byetta and Lantus have very different strengths, we thought that combining the two had the potential to give us the best of both. It is wonderful, when you guess right."

The study was published online on Dec. 7, 2010 by the Annals of Internal Medicine and will appear in the Jan. 18, 2011 print issue of the journal.

The 30-week study was conducted at 59 centers in five countries (Greece, Israel, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S.) with 261 participants. All were adults with type 2 diabetes who were taking once-daily injections of Lantus, either alone or with diabetes pills. They were randomly assigned to receive twice-daily injections of Byetta or placebo in addition to the diabetes medications that they were taking.

Among the 138 patients on Byetta, 60 percent achieved near normal blood sugar levels, compared to 35 percent of those on placebo. Byetta recipients also lost an average of four pounds during the study while placebo recipients gained an average of two pounds. There were no differences in the rates of hypoglycemia between the two groups.

Byetta recipients reported side effects more frequently than placebo recipients, particularly nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, but only in 10 percent of cases were the side effects bad enough to cause patients to stop the drug.

The study was funded and sponsored by an alliance of Eli Lilly and Company and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, who are collaborating to market Byetta.

In addition to Buse, authors of the study are Richard M. Bergenstal, MD; Leonard C. Glass, MD; Cory R. Heilmann, PhD; Michelle S. Lewis, PhD; Anita Y.M. Kwan, MS; Byron J. Hoogwerf, MD; and Julio Rosenstock, MD.



Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin, Lantus, Low Blood Sugar, Medications, Medications Research, Type 2 Issues

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (1)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Posted by jlnhjm on 29 December 2010

Too bad I wasn't included in the study; all byetta did was move the time of my insulin shot to after my meal rather than before. I did not use any less insulin, my control remained the same and the most insulting thing of all: I did not lose any weight. Perhaps because when I started my study of one, I already had good control, I was just hoping to lose some of the insulin and lots of weight.

Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.