New drugs for diabetes types I & II

National Diabetes Month-good time for new medicines. Photo: Blood testing/ AP

WASHINGTON, November 7, 2013 — This November’s National Diabetes Month rings in good cheer by virtue of six new drugs for diabetics. Three have been recently approved by the FDA and three more are promising drugs awaiting FDA approval. Five of the new drugs are for diabetes type II and the remaining drug addresses type I diabetes

Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda Pharmaceutical CL and its American sister company Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. Inc. recently received approval for three new types II diabetes drugs: Nesina (alogliptin), Oseni (alogliptin and pioglitazone) and Kazano (alogliptin and metformin HCI). Research is backed by world-wide clinical trials with over 13,000 participants.

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Nesina (alogliptin) works by increasing the active incretins enabling the pancreas to secrete insulin in a glucose dependent manner. Oseni combines alogliptin and pioglitazone to control blood glucose levels.

Kazano combines alogliptin and the long time trusted drug metformin HCI in a single tablet which acts primarily by reducing the amount of glucose produced in the liver.

Lyxumia (lixisenatide) by Sandofi Pharmaceuticals has been approved in Japan and the European Union for those who cannot control diabetes with exercise and diet and can be taken with or without metformin and basal insulin.

Onglyza (saxagliptin) from Bristol-Meyers Squibb/Astrazenica Alliance is for those who cannot take the older standby, metformin.

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For those who suffer advanced type I diabetes and for whom a pancreas transplant is not an option or is an option but not desirable, and also cannot manage their diabetic condition, an experimental procedure using the pancreas islet cells that contain beta cells that produce insulin (Type I diabetics cannot produce insulin) and alpha cells that produce a hormone called glucagon is most promising.

Both beta and alpha islet cells combine to regulate the body’s glucose and islet cells can be harvested from cadavers and transplanted.

The Journal of Diabetes reports that the new method is to extract the islet cells, let them “rest” for three days, then transplant them into a living recipient. All those in the experimental program were able to come off insulin after a single transplant for a least one year.

Data from countries where this procedure is approved shows patients can stop using insulin for five to ten years.

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An estimated 26 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes with another 79 million at risk and 18.8 million remaining undiagnosed.

Worldwide, an estimated 371 million people have been diagnosed as diabetic. 183 million remain undiagnosed and 4.6 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes.

The disease is pandemic, striking those in lower income groups between the ages of 40 and 59 years of age. 18 million children are born every year with diabetes type I. $465 billion dollars is spent annually for diabetes treatments.


Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based writer and psychotherapist


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