Womens Health

New Type 2 Diabetes Treatment Approved

At long last, Victoza (liraglutide) has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) marketing approval for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The announcement was made on January 30, 2010 by drug company Novo Nordisk, who produced this revolutionary medication. The drug is the first of its kind and is administered once daily.

Kind To Kidneys

Victoza is an analogue for Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) and does its magic by stimulating the pancreas to release insulin only when blood sugar levels rise. In clinical trials, Victoza was found to bring about weight reduction. The drug breaks down on its own within the body and doesn't depend on renal excretion, so is kind to the kidneys.

Since Novo Nordisk received authorization to market Victoza in the EU on June 30th, the drug has been launched within the UK, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, and Germany. Japan has also authorized the sale of the type 2 diabetes medication. China's decision is still pending.

Valuable Option

In the U.S., Victoza will be prescribed as an adjunct to exercise and diet to help adults with type 2 diabetes control their sugar levels. Doctors can use Victoza as a single therapy treatment, as a second-line treatment, or in combination with more mainstream oral medications. President and CEO of Novo Nordisk, Lars Rebien Sørensen says, "We are convinced that Victoza will prove to be a valuable treatment option for people with type 2 diabetes in the US. The ability of Victoza to substantially improve glucose control with a low risk of hypoglycemia creates an opportunity for more patients with type 2 diabetes to achieve their individual treatment goals."

One of the unique qualities of Victoza is that, unlike most diabetes medications, it doesn't cause weight gain. In fact, during clinical trials, Victoza was shown to bring about a reduction in body weight, though this was a secondary goal for these trials. As for adverse reactions, most of those seen during the clinical trials were gastrointestinal by nature. Such reactions included nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  These reactions were seen during the early days of treatment and none of the participants withdrew as a result of these side effects.

In the U.S., Victoza will be marketed with a boxed warning relating to a risk for thyroid c-cell tumors. This is due to the fact that during the pre-trial testing phase, the drug caused such tumors in rodents. However, there was not a single case of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in patients who were given Victoza. Still, the relevance of the findings in rodents to human beings cannot be ruled out with any clinical evidence. For this reason, Victoza is contraindicated for those patients with a family or personal history of MTC or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2.

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