Byetta Dusts Insulin In Year-Long Trial

In a recent randomized study, 69 people with type 2 diabetes who were already taking metformin were given either Byetta or Lantus for a full year. When the results were in, Byetta came out ahead on several fronts.

Byetta controlled blood sugar about as well as Lantus; both medicines reduced A1c’s by slightly less than a point. But when it came to hypoglycemia, Byetta took the honors: 24.2 percent of the Lantus patients had an low blood sugar episode during the trial, compared to only 8.3 percent of the Byetta group.

Where Byetta really shone was in weight loss. The Byetta patients lost about eight pounds, but the Lantus group gained about two pounds.

With regard to beta cell function, Byetta won out as well. The patients’ beta cell health was assessed by measuring their secretion of C-peptide, a byproduct of the body’s own insulin output. After the year of treatment, the Byetta group could produce considerably more C-peptide than the Lantus group was able to manage, indicating that the Byetta group’s beta cells were in robust health compared to the beta cells of the Lantus group.

Usually patients are started on Byetta at five micrograms twice a day for at least thirty days, but then later upped to ten micrograms twice daily. In this study, the Byetta doses were increased to as much as twenty micrograms three times a day, a dosage that is not yet approved by the FDA.

Source: Lilly Press Release, September 2007

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