By: Miranda Schwartz
Rezulin, Warner-Lambert’s type 2 diabetes drug, has recently been approved by the FDA for use in conjunction with sulfonylureas.
Doctors recommend that type 2 patients begin treatment with diet modification and lifestyle changes. However, if this fails to work alone, Warner-Lambert reports that Rezulin will give doctors more first-line treatment options. Rezulin can also be useful for type 2 patients who are poorly controlled on insulin.
“(Rezulin) provides physicians with an effective option for the newly diagnosed and those unable to control their blood glucose with sulfonylureas or insulin. Rezulin offers promise in achieving glycemic control in a broad range of type 2 patients,” says Gerald Bernstein, MD, associate clinical professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
When HbA1c levels are greater than 8%, ADA treatment guidelines recommend an adjustment in treatment. In clinical trials, according to the company, 57 percent of patients on Rezulin-insulin combination therapy (using 600 mg per day) had HbA1c levels lower than 8%.
Warner-Lambert also reports that HbA1c levels for patients receiving combination Rezulin-sulfonylurea therapy were reduced by twice as many percentage points as those who were only taking the sulfonylurea glyburide.
The company credits these benefits to Rezulin’s ability to reduce insulin resistance on the cellular level, creating pathways with insulin that lets glucose into the cell. As a result, the body can use insulin more efficiently. Rezulin relies on the presence of insulin to work so it is ineffective when used by type 1 patients, or to treat diabetic ketoacidosis.
Rezulin’s side effects can include headache, infection and back pain. Rezulin may also interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. As with the use of any new medication, drug interactions and possible side effects should be discussed with one’s physician.