News from Danish pharmaceutical manufacturer Novo Nordisk reinforces the growing trend toward using a two-drug combination in the early treatment of type 2 diabetes. (See “A Conversation About Janumet and Earlier Combination Therapy Type 2 Diabetes” for more discussion about the phenomenon.)
In a study released in Lisbon, Portugal, to the meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Novo said that combining its recently released drug Victoza® (liraglutide) with another drug early in therapy helps recently diagnosed type 2s achieve greater blood glucose control than they could with a single drug.
Typically, newly diagnosed type 2s begin a single drug regimen to control their blood glucose levels-usually a sulfonylurea, which increases insulin production, or metformin, which suppresses glucose production in the liver. Both are inexpensive and have been a treatment staple for decades.
Victoza, an injectible drug approved for US sale in early 2010, is a long-acting glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) analog that stimulates insulin production when blood glucose levels are higher than normal. Unlike its naturally occurring counterpart, the drug remains stable for hours, which means it can be delivered on a once-daily basis.
The drug’s other benefits include greater appetite suppression and body weight maintenance capability than sulfonylureas, as well as the ability to lower triglyceride levels.
The 26-week Novo study looked at type 2 patients who either had received no drugs or were taking only one oral diabetes drug daily. It found that 72 percent of patients treated early with a combination of Victoza and an oral agent achieved the European-recommended A1c target of less than 7% (the American Diabetes Association target is 7%). This compared to only 49 percent of subjects who achieved the recommended A1c level after waiting until later to begin the combination therapy.