By: Clay Wirestone
Drug company Merck aims to give people with type 2 diabetes two treatments for the price of one. The new therapy, called Juvisync, was just approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. It’s not a radical new treatment, but instead a helpful combination of two familiar standbys: Juvisync unites the active ingredients in blood sugar-lowering Januvia and cholesterol-lowering Zocor in a single tablet.
Why combine the drugs? According to Merck, Juvisync addresses a very real and pressing oversight in treatment for type 2s. Put simply, many aren’t being prescribed medicine that could improve their quality of life.
“Although clinical guidelines put people with type 2 diabetes who need glycemic and lipid therapy at the same risk level as those with coronary heart disease, nearly 40 percent of eligible patients do not receive statin treatment,” said Barry J. Goldstein, Merck’s Vice President for Diabetes and Endocrinology. “We are proud to bring forward a treatment option that can help these patients who need both glycemic and lipid therapy.”
Merck notes that the cholesterol-lowering ingredient in the pill should be accompanied by a diet that limits saturated fat and cholesterol.
The FDA gave the go-ahead for the pill after studies showed that taking Juvisync had the same effect as taking Januvia and Zocor separately. Juvisync is expected cost the same as Januvia, according to Merck, and will be available in pharmacies soon. Some medical professionals are already looking forward to it.
“People with type 2 diabetes who need glycemic and lipid therapy are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and its complications,” said Helena W. Rodbard, MD, the past president of the American College of Endocrinology and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. “I am excited to be able to offer my patients a treatment option such as Juvisync that combines two important medications to lower both blood sugar and cholesterol in one tablet.”