Five percent of people with type 2 diabetes develop secondary failure to sulfonylureas every year (secondary failure describes the condition wherein a drug that has been effective in controlling blood sugars stops functioning for a particular individual).
Such failure is usually caused by poor adherence to diet. Although the ideal treatment is weight control through better eating habits, D. Kumar of Los Angeles says few patients follow such advice.
Kumar led a study in which it was found that the appetite suppressant dexfenfluramine, given in conjunction with sulfonylureas, is an effective method for preventing failure. Most patients who fail on sulfonylureas are treated with insulin. This treatment often leads to weight gain and chronic hyperinsulinemia. Dexfenfluramine promotes weight loss and appears to provide users with lower basal blood insulin levels than insulin-treated people.
According to Kumar, “These data suggest that the appetite suppressant dexfenfluramine is a preferred treatment for the secondary failure to sulfonylureas”.
Dexfenfluramine will be sold in this country under the trade name “Redux”, and is being developed by Interneuron of Boston, Mass. The drug is currently up for approval by the FDA, and is being reviewed in advisory committee meetings, which are open to the public. The meetings begin November 16th in Wash., D.C.
This research was presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting and Educational Program of the AADE in Boston, August 1995.