A Canadian clinical study has delivered a double dose of good news for proponents of exenatide (sold commercially as Byetta), a drug used by more than 700,000 Americans to control blood glucose, ease food cravings, and, incidentally, lose weight.
An experimental long-term version, injected once weekly (versus the twice-daily routine in current use), provides better control of blood sugar and is better tolerated by users’ gastrointestinal systems.
Those are the conclusions of a study by Dr. Daniel Drucker and colleagues at the Mount Sinai Hospital and University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Drucker’s study was presented at a recent meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Rome, and will be published in the British medical journal The Lancet.
The randomized trial followed 259 type 2 diabetes patients who had had diabetes an average of nearly seven years, tracking their A1c levels for 30 weeks. The mean A1c level for the group was 8.3% at the start of the study.
One group of 129 patients received a once-weekly 2 mg (milligram) injection of exenatide. The other group of 130 patients received exenatide injections of 10µg (micrograms) twice daily.
The patients on the once-weekly regimen saw their A1c levels fall to a mean of 6.4% (a -1.9% improvement), while those taking the drug twice daily saw their A1c’s fall to 6.8% (a -1.5% improvement).
More patients in the once-weekly group, 77 percent, achieved the study target of an A1c of 7.0% or less, compared with 61 percent of those in the twice-daily group.
The percentages of those achieving A1c’s of 6.5% or less were similar in both groups. The authors concluded, “Exenatide once weekly resulted in significantly greater improvements in glycemic control than exenatide given twice a day, with no increased risk of hypoglycemia and similar reductions in bodyweight.”
The study is available online.