Dapagliflozin may Control Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes patients taking dapagliflozin may have improved glycemic control

(RxWiki News) There are many types of diabetes drugs. Each drug is different and will have different effects depending on the patient. In the search for another way to control blood sugar, scientists are testing a new drug.

Dapagliflozin treatment may improve blood sugar control, stabilize how much insulin a patient needs, and reduce weight in people with type 2 diabetes.

The drug appears to do all this without increasing the risk of hypoglycemia, or dangerously low blood sugar levels.

"Eat a healthy diet to control your blood sugar."

In people with type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels get out of control because their bodies do no respond properly to insulin - a hormone that manages blood sugar. These patients are often prescribed medications, in combination with diet and exercise, to keep their blood sugar at near normal levels.

Dapagliflozin is an experimental drug being tested by AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb as a possible treatment for diabetes.

In a recent study - which was funded by AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb - John P.H. Wilding, D.M., of University Hospital Aintree in Liverpool, United Kingdom, and colleagues found that dapagliflozin may be an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes.

After 24 weeks of treatment, patients' HbA1c levels (a measure of blood sugar over time) decreased by 0.79 percent to 0.96 percent. In comparison, HbA1c levels decreased by 0.39 percent in diabetes patients who took placebo.

Even though patients taking dapagliflozin lowered their blood sugar levels more than patients taking placebo, there was a higher number of dapagliflozin patients who had hypoglycemic episodes (56.6 percent of dapagliflozin patients versus 51.8 percent of placebo patients).

Hypoglycemia happens when blood sugar drops to dangerously low levels. While the goal of many diabetes drug treatments is to lower blood sugar levels, some treatments may be too strong, leading to hypoglycemia.

In addition, dapagliflozin patients had higher rates of genital infection, and were more likely to show signs of urinary tract infection.

According to the authors, "The study was not designed to evaluate long-term safety." However, a 56-week extension period is under way.

The study involved 800 patients who were controlling their diabetes with insulin. Some of the patients were also taking oral diabetes drugs.

By the end of the 24-week study period, patients treated with dapagliflozin did not need as much insulin. Their daily dose decreased by 0.63 to 1.95 units of insulin.

Among patients who took placebo, daily insulin dose increased by 5.65 units.

Dapagliflozin treatment also led to weight loss (0.92 to 1.61 kg), whereas placebo patients gained about 0.43 kg.

The benefits of dapagliflozin appeared to last as long as 48 weeks.

Dr. Wilding and colleagues concluded that dapagliflozin improves blood sugar and insulin dosing while reducing weight and lowering the risk of hypoglycemia.

Still, more research is needed, particularly from researchers without a conflict of interest.

The results of this randomized trial were published March 20 in the Annals of Internal Medicine

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Review Date: 
April 4, 2012