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Research looking at a new formulation of the diabetes drug exenatide has revealed that it is better for controlling blood sugar and more convenient to manage than the current regimen.
Exenatide is designed to improve blood sugar control and assist weight loss in type 2 diabetes patients. The new formulation’s biggest advantage over the old regimen is that it can be administered once weekly rather than twice daily.
A study in Canada looked at the differences between the old and new formulations in 259 patients. Blood sugar control was measured by haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels in the blood.
The average HbA1c level at the start of the trial was about 8.3% (healthy people usually have HbA1c levels between 4.0% and 6.0%).
The results of the trial showed that patients given the new exenatide formulation had an HbA1c level decrease of about 1.9%, while the group on the old regimen had an HbA1c level decrease of about 1.5%.
More than three-quarters (77%) of patients taking the new once-weekly formulation met the target HbA1c level of 7.0%, compared with 61% of the twice-daily patients.
“Exenatide once weekly resulted in significantly greater improvements in glycaemic control than exenatide given twice a day, with no increased risk of hypoglycaemia and similar reductions in bodyweight,” said the researchers, writing in The Lancet.
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