As diabetes becomes a bigger and bigger problem, it is welcome news when new treatments for the disease become available. The FDA has approved a new drug to help patients with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar.
People with Type 2 diabetes do not produce or respond normally to insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. Over time, high blood glucose levels can increase the risk for serious complications, including heart disease, blindness, and nerve and kidney damage.
"This approval provides another treatment option for the millions of Americans with Type 2 diabetes," said Mary Parks, M.D., director of the Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “It is effective when used alone or when added to existing treatment regimens.”
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, affecting between 90 percent and 95 percent of the 24 million people in the United States with diabetes. Tradjenta increases the level of hormones that stimulate the release of insulin after a meal by blocking the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase-4 or DPP-4, which leads to better blood glucose control.
Tradjenta was demonstrated to be safe and effective in eight double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies involving about 3,800 patients with Type 2 diabetes. The studies showed improvement in blood glucose control compared with placebo.
Tradjenta has been studied as a stand-alone therapy and in combination with other Type 2 diabetes therapies including metformin, glimepiride, and pioglitazone. Tradjenta has not been studied in combination with insulin, and should not be used to treat people with Type 1 diabetes or in those who have increased ketones in their blood or urine (diabetic ketoacidosis).
Tradjenta will be dispensed with an FDA-approved Patient Package Insert that explains the drug’s uses and risks. The most common side effects of Tradjenta are upper respiratory infection, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, muscle pain, and headache.
Tradjenta is marketed by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., Ridgefield, Conn., and Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly Co.