Amylin’s Would-Be Savior, Once-Weekly Diabetes Shot, Shows Two-Year Benefit

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blood sugar down to a medically acceptable level. Patients on the once-weekly drug were able to bring their hemoglobin A1C scores down by 1.9 percentage points from when they entered the study, a little better than the 1.5 percentage point drop seen among patients on the standard exenatide, Wilhelm says.

Nausea was the most common side effect during the 30-week comparison period. About one-fourth of patients (27 percent) reported at least one bout of nausea in the initial period, although that decreased the longer patients stayed on the drug, falling to 12 percent in the final 74-week stretch when all patients were getting the once-weekly version. No severe cases of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, were seen.

Separately, Amylin looked into the rate of pancreatitis among patients taking its product, which caused so many headaches for the company last fall. The events are too rare to show up in a company-sponsored clinical trial, Wilhelm says. Pancreatitis tends to show up in greater number in diabetic patients than in the general population, but based on looking back at patient records in managed care databases, Wilhelm says it didn’t see any elevated risk for pancreatitis among diabetic patients taking exenatide.

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