Research on New Anti Diabetes Drug Byetta

Diabetes is a common condition currently affecting almost 200 million adults worldwide. To date, it is one of the leading causes of blindness as well as death through it’s effects on the cardiovascular system of affected people. Type 2 diabetes is a version of diabetes that affects 90 percent of the world’s diabetics. It involves the failure of the body’s pancreatic cells to address the increased demands of the body for insulin, and usually results from obesity related insulin resistance.

Two common oral medications taken to combat diabetes are metformin and a sulfonylurea. These two do not always prove effective in combating blood sugar levels, however, requiring more advanced treatments for patients.

Recently however, researchers in Europe and the United States have come up with a new type of medicine called Incretin Mimetics. This new anti diabetes medicine is so named because it mimics incretin, a naturally occurring hormone that stimulates the body’s production of insulin to combat elevated levels of blood sugar. While some diabetics rely on external sources of insulin via injections to help their condition, this new medicine allows the body to create higher levels of insulin instead.

Another naturally occurring effect of incretin is to slow down the rate at which the blood stream absorbs nutrients, leading to both a reduction in sugar absorption in the bloodstream and reduced food intake. Given that type 2 diabetes is also related to obesity, this means that incretin mimetics also help contribute to weight loss, which will also assist in the suppression of diabetes.

Several US based firms like Eli Lilly and Co. and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. are promoting the use of incretin mimetics. Their version of incretin mimetics is known as exanatide, and it is the first of it’s kind to be made for mass production and marketing. Tentatively, they are giving their medicine the brand name Byetta. It has not yet been released on the global markets, but currently it has already seen positive results in testing.

40 studies were conducted across 20 countries, and involved 4000 patients. These studies showed that the use of exanatide proved as effective as insulin injections in controlling blood sugar levels. Additionally, most of the patients lost a significant amount of excess body weight. Because of it’s weight loss effect, in the long run it is projected that the reduction of a patient’s obesity will itself also help combat diabetes, making exanatide more effetive than insulin injection as a means of addressing diabetes.

Byetta is not intended to be a single cure-all for diabetes, however. It’s primary role in the market is to help diabetics who are unaffected by metformin and a sulfonylurea, which are two widespread medications taken to combat diabetes. Since diabetics who are unaffected by these medicines usually have to take insulin injections to keep their blood sugar levels manageable, Byetta offers them another alternative treatment.

The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Evaluation Agency has given positive support of Byetta as a potential new medication to counteract the effects of diabetes, and full scale production and release of Byetta into the world wide market is projected for the first quarter of next year, 2007. The product is expected to see initial introduction in the European market when it is first released, as almost 25% of the world’s type 2 diabetics are located in Europe.

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