Pharmaceutical company Targacept, Inc. is giving up on its experimental type 2 diabetes drug known as TC-6987, after it showed less than desirable results in phase II clinical trials. The drug was designed to measure changes in fasting glucose, a metabolic measurement used to identify problems with insulin function. Despite its disappointing performance as a diabetes treatment, the same drug did show promise in phase II clinical trials in treating persistent mild to moderate asthma in patients with inhaled corticosteroids.
Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar. An estimated 198 million people worldwide have type 2 diabetes, which represents about 90 percent of all diabetics, according to the World Health Organization. Uncontrolled diabetes over time can cause complications with many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels. The best defense against type 2 diabetes is a healthy diet and exercise. But many patients have to rely on medications to control their blood sugar levels. Diabetes medications carry side effects that can cause serious problems in some patients.
In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed severe restrictions on the type 2 diabetes drug Avandia after the drug was linked to fatal heart attacks. Soon after, the FDA issued a warning about the drug Actos, after studies linked the type 2 diabetes drug to bladder cancer. Those who used Actos for at least a year were at even greater risk for developing the disease.