Diabetes Conference - Extenetide (Byetta) Facts


Diabetes Update #3 Day 1, Friday June 10 from the American Diabetes Association National Meeting

Dr. Ruchi Mathur offers perspectives of interest on topics from the American Diabetes Association's 65th Annual Scientific Sessions (held in San Diego, California June 10-14, 2005)

Medical Podcast

Listen now to Day 1 Exenetide (Byetta) new drug facts from Dr. Ruchi Mathur who is at the diabetes conference in San Diego  (MP3 2:23min 2.18MB)

This is Dr. Ruchi Mathur updating you from the American Diabetes Associations 65th Scientific Symposia. As promised in my last update, some interesting facts about a new drug that has it's origins in the saliva of a desert lizard.

The Gila monster can go for prolonged periods without eating. When studied it was found to produce a protein that helped to slow the emptying of its stomach- so it stayed full for extended periods. This protein is very similar to one that human's make- called GLP-1. Well, researchers have now made a synthetic GLP-1, which has recently been FDA approved for the treatment of diabetes . It is called Exenetide, and marketed under the name Byetta. This injectable medication slows stomach emptying, increases a feeling of fullness, reduces glucagon release from the liver (glucagons causes the release of sugar from the liver into the blood stream) and may help the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas live longer.

These attributes of Exenitide have been known and extensively studied. What has not been unknown (until now) is whether there is any improvement in cardiovascular risk factors with this therapy. The first data looking at this question was presented this afternoon. It included subjects on Byetta for up to 82 weeks. There was a decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, though modest. More interestingly, there was a significant weight loss that occurred inpatients treated with Byetta, and this weight loss was sustained- or actually continued to accrue out to 82 weeks. In some patients this weight loss was as much as 24 pounds. When compared, patients who lost the most weight had a more significant drop in their triglycerides and a more significant increase in their HDL, or good cholesterol.

Thus, this new medication appears to have many benefits, among which is weight loss. Byetta may be a medication to discuss with your physician if you have type 2 diabetes and are overweight. Read and hear the next installment from the conference.

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