October 24, 2011

Byetta FDA approved for extended use in Type 2 diabetes


In 2005 a monster drug known as Byetta was introduced by Eli Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals for the control of Type 2 diabetes. It was FDA approved for the use of treatment in concert with oral anti-diabetic medications. Now the FDA has expanded  approval to include the use of Byetta as an adjunct treatment with Lantus or insulin glargine.

I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s a monster drug. Byetta is a synthetic form of saliva from the Gila monster. Byetta is shown to increase the body’s insulin secretion, decreases the glucagon secretion and slows down the emptying of the stomach.

A remarkable feat for combining the use of Byetta with Lantus for Type 2 diabetes is the benefit of  improved glycemic control without weight gain. In fact, participants who took Byetta lost an average of 4 lbs. where the Lantus (alone) group gained an average of 2 lbs.

Byetta was shown to improve after meal glucose levels in the mornings and evenings. Whereas the placebo group did not retain the same level of glucose control. A published study in the American Diabetes Association Clinical Diabetes found that controlling postprandial glucose levels significantly reduces the risk of diabetic microvascular and macrovascular complications.

The good and the bad: Byetta has been shown to cause acute pancreatitis in some people. If your doctor feels that you might benefit from the added treatment of Byetta – make sure he or she stays on top of the warning signs.

I like Amylin. Don’t come at me with torches and pitchforks just yet. In a world where diabetes drugs are looking for a faster method of removing glucose from the blood – Amylin took a different approach. Enter SYMLIN and Byetta. How slow can we keep glucose from entering the blood?