The type 2 diabetes drug Byetta may help improve Parkinson’s disease symptoms in diabetics, a small study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests.
The study involved 44 people, 20 of whom were regularly given injections of Byetta. The remaining 24 were given a placebo. The patients were followed for 14 months.
Patients who were given Byetta injections showed a mean improvement of symptoms of 2.7 points on the MDS-UPDRS scale, a process to measure progression of Parkinson’s disease. The group of patients who were given a placebo declined 2.2 points on the scale. Researchers noted that the findings were statistically significant.
Byetta, known generically as exenatide, is in a class of diabetes medications known as GLP-1 drugs. It is a best-selling drug developed by Amylin Pharmaceuticals, which was bought last year by Bristol-Myers Squibb. While the drug’s side effects were generally well tolerated in this small study, one patient dropped out due to worsening symptoms and change in his sensation of taste, another dropped out due to weight loss, and a third dropped out due to L-dopa dose failure.
Byetta was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2005, and Januvia, a similar GLP-1 drug for type 2 diabetes, was approved in 2006. Millions of people are prescribed the drugs each year. However, since they were approved, the FDA has issued several warnings that Byetta and Januvia have been linked to pancreatic complications. New studies link the drugs to acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
Attorneys at Beasley Allen Law Firm are currently investigating cases of pancreatitis and pancreas cancer in patients who have taken Byetta or Januvia.
Source: UT San Diego