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Exenatide: Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

EIi Lilly and Company and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recently announced that the European Commission has granted marketing authorization for Byetta (exenatide) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Exenatide is now approved in the European Union as adjunctive therapy to improve blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes who have not achieved adequate glycemic control on maximally tolerated doses of metformin and/or a sulfonylurea, two common oral diabetes medications. Exenatide is the first in a new class of antidiabetic medicines known as incretin mimetics.

An incretin- mimetic works to mimic the antidiabetic or glucose-lowering actions of naturally occurring’ human hormones called incretins. These actions include stimulating the body’s ability to produce insulin in response to elevated levels of blood sugar, inhibiting the release of a hormone called glucagon following meals, slowing the rate at which nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream and reducing food intake. Exenatide is the first FDA-approved incretin mimetic.

Studies that compared exenatide to insulin showed that exenatide can control blood sugar as effectively as several kinds of insulin’ often used in patients failing to respond to oral agents. On average, patients treated with exenatide lost weight, whereas treatment with insulin was associated with weight gain. Exenatide was approved for use in the United States by the U.S. Food and DrugAdministration in April 2005 as an adjunctive therapy to improve blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes who have not achieved adequate glycemic control on metformin and/ or a sulfonylurea.

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