A once-daily injection for treating type 2 diabetes has been approved for use by health officials in the United States.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Victoza, also known as liraglutide, to help lower blood sugar levels when coupled with diet, exercise and other diabetes medicines. But it said more safety studies are needed before it can be cleared as a first-line treatment for the disease.
The drug, produced by Danish firm Novo Nordisk, was not recommended as an initial therapy for patients who are unable to control their diabetes with diet and exercise alone.
In April last year, a panel of government experts were split over whether the FDA should approve the drug after evidence showed it caused cancerous thyroid tumours in rats and mice.
However, the FDA said: “It is not known if Victoza could cause thyroid tumours or a very rare type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid cancer in people. For this reason, it should not be used as the first-line treatment for diabetes until additional studies are completed that support expanded use.”
Victoza belongs to the GLP-1 family of diabetes medications, which also includes Byetta, and both drugs help control blood sugar by increasing insulin production and slowing the body’s sugar absorption rate.
Copyright Press Association 2010
US Food and Drug Administration