No Kidney Failure From Diabetes Drug

Type 2 diabetes patients taking Tradjenta had improved blood sugar and low risk of complications

(RxWiki News) While medications can help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, some drugs come with serious side effects. Before prescribing a drug, doctors should know the benefits and potential harm of the drug.

In a recent study on diabetes patients with poor kidney function, Tradjenta (linagliptin) improved blood sugar control without any cases of kidney failure.

"Make sure your diabetes drugs are safe for you."

Janet B. McGill, MD, of Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues also found that Tradjenta carried a low risk of severe hypoglycemia, or extremely low blood sugar.

Tradjenta is used along with a healthy diet and exercise to lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. It works by boosting the amounts of certain natural substances that reduce blood sugar when levels rise too high.

Dr. McGill and colleagues set out to test the safety and effectiveness of this drug in people with poor kidney function - a common complication among diabetes patients.

Their findings showed that levels of HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar over 3 months) were cut by 0.76 percent in patients taking Tradjenta. In comparison, HbA1c was lowered by 0.15 percent in patients taking placebo.

At 1 year of treatment, the improvements in blood sugar control continued for patients taking Tradjenta.

In addition, patients taking Tradjenta were able to lower their doses of insulin - a natural hormone that is also prescribed as a medication to help manage blood sugar levels. Insulin doses were reduced by about 6.2 units in patients taking Tradjenta versus 0.3 units in patients taking placebo.

Rates of complications were about the same for Tradjenta patients and placebo patients.

Only three patients in each group experienced severe hypoglycemia.

Tradjenta and placebo had little effect on kidney function. No patient in the study experienced kidney failure.

The authors concluded that Tradjenta meaningfully improved blood sugar control with a low risk of low blood sugar and no cases of drug-related kidney failure. Because Tradjenta may reduce the need for insulin and may be safe for long-term use, the authors said more research on the drug is needed.

Study co-authors Jennifer Newman, Sanjay Patel, MB, CHB, Christophe Sauce, MS, Maximilian von Eynatten, MD, and Hans-Juergen Woerle, MD, are employees of Boehringer Ingelheim - the manufacturer of Tradjenta.

The study - which included 133 patients with type 2 diabetes and poor kidney function - was published October 1 in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association. 

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Review Date: 
October 8, 2012