Merck’s new, once-weekly experimental type 2 diabetes treatment was found in recent clinical trials to have a similar safety and efficacy profile compared to Merck’s sitagliptin, marketed under the brand name Januvia.
The study involving the new omarigliptin randomly assigned participants with type 2 diabetes into one of three groups – once-weekly omarigliptin 25 mg; once-daily Januvia 50 mg; or placebo. A mixed-meal tolerance test was performed the day before the study drugs were administered and again at 24 weeks, 1 day after the last dose of Januvia, or 7 days after the last dose of omargliptin.
Researchers found that the two drugs performed similarly and had similar side effects reported. No deaths or serious adverse events were reported druing the study.
Omarigliptin is a potent, highly selective oral DPP-4 inhibitor, the same family of type 2 diabetes drugs as Januvia. Omariglipitin is taken once a week, which offers a benefit over once- or twice-daily treatments.
“One of the challenges in the treatment of chronic diseases is medication adherence,” said Ira Grantz, MD, a clinical researcher for metabolism at Merck Research Laboratories. “Pill burden and dosing complexity are factor that can contribute to poor medication adherence. The convenience of an effective, well-tolerated, weekly, oral antihyperglycemic agent has the potential to improve patient adherence, which might translate to better glycemic control and disease outcomes.”
DPP-4 inhibitors are in a class of type 2 diabetes drugs called incretin mimetics which also include Byetta and Victoza. Drugs in this class have been linked to an increased risk of acute pancreatitis, a painful inflammation of the pancreas, and pancreatic cancer.