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New therapy could one day provide better treatment options for diabetics

A novel new therapy to treat type 2 diabetes that lowers blood sugar, decreases insulin resistance, lowers cholesterol and helps keep fatty deposits from settling in the liver is in the works at Columbia University Medical Center, and researchers hope to eventually test it on humans. So far, studies on mice show promising results with no side effects. The treatment targets the hormone glucagon instead of insulin. Glucagon is a hormone whose main purpose is to protect the body and brain from low blood sugar levels during period of fasting, such as overnight. When certain cells in the pancreas sense ... Read More

Hypertension drug combination contraindicated in patients with diabetes, renal impairment

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning for patients with type 2 diabetes or kidney (renal) impairment about possible risks when these patients use blood pressure medications containing aliskiren with other hypertension drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). Preliminary data from a clinical trial shows that the drug combinations in patients with type 2 diabetes or renal impairment may increase the risks of kidney impairment, low blood pressure (hypotension), and high potassium blood levels (hyperkalemia). The data also showed a slight increase in cardiovascular events resulting in death or stroke; however, the ... Read More

Actos maker to buy gout treatment manufacturer

Japanese drug maker Takeda Pharmaceuticals Co. is hoping an $800 million acquisition of U.S. gout treatment maker URL Pharma Inc. will boost the company’s U.S. sales and, ideally, cover ground lost with its blockbuster type 2 diabetes drug Actos. Not only does Actos lose its patent protection later this year, paving the way for generic competition, sales of the drug have slumped since last year, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that studies have linked the diabetes treatment to bladder cancer. Takeda is Japan’s largest drug maker, but the majority of its sales come from the United States ... Read More

Poor sleep leads to pre-diabetes condition in some people, new study finds

It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep has a tremendous restorative effect on the human body, affecting just about every mental and physical function. But just how crucial proper sleep is to one’s health isn’t often quantified as clearly and strikingly as it was in one recent U.S. study, which found that shift workers who suffer interruptions in normal sleeping patterns are at high risk of developing obesity and diabetes. The study, conducted by doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard-affiliated teaching hospital in Boston, controlled the daily routines of 21 people for several weeks, mainly regulating the ... Read More

FDA delays vote on experimental diet drug Qnexa

Approval for the experimental weight loss drug Qnexa has been pushed back another three months, paving the way for other drugs to stretch ahead in the race for the first diet pill in 13 years to be granted marketing rights in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pushed back the target date for approval to allow time to review a new safety plan submitted by drug maker Vivus Inc. These plans often include information that explains side effects and safety risks. Side effects reported with Qnexa include birth defects, heart palpitations, suicidal thoughts, and memory lapses. Vivus ... Read More

Obesity, diabetes during pregnancy linked to autism, developmental delays

Mothers who are obese or have diabetes during pregnancy are more likely to have children who are autistic than women who do not have the same conditions while pregnant, according to a new study from the University of California. The study involved 1,004 children aged 2 to 5 years enrolled in the CHARGE (Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment) study from 2003 to 2010, and included 517 children with autism spectrum disorders, 172 with other developmental disorders, and 315 who were considered typical. Researchers found that obese mothers were 67 percent more likely than mothers of normal weight ... Read More

GSK diabetes drug shows well in clinical trials

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) says new data from seven of eight Phase III trials on its experimental type 2 diabetes drug Albiglutide are promising enough that the pharmaceutical company will seek approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Albiglutide belongs to a class of injectable GLP-1 medicines. Others in the class include Byetta, made by Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, and Novo Nordisk’s Victoza. (Victoza is now fronted by celebrity chef Paula Deen.) Albiglutide is a once-weekly version of GLP-1 medicines. Albiglutide’s road to FDA consideration has not been an easy one. Last November, the first of a series of late-stage ... Read More

Trials on experimental type 2 diabetes drug dropped after dismal results

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, ... Read More

Some fruits may help protect against diabetes

A diet rich in certain fruits may help ward off type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study involved more than 200,000 people and was originally created to see if a diet high in plant secondary metabolites known as flavonoids had any effect on the incidence of diabetes. The study focused on flavonoids subclasses such as flavonols, flavones, flavanones, flavan-3-ols, and anthocyanins, which includes fruits such as blueberries, apples and pears. For the study, participants filled out questionnaires about their eating habits. While no significant findings about flavonoids were confirmed, ... Read More

Weight loss surgery can reduce, eliminate need for diabetes drugs

Obese people who undergo bariatric surgery to lose weight can reverse the signs of diabetes by quickly lowering blood sugar levels, and as a result reduce or eliminate their need for insulin or other medications, according to a new study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology. The study involved 150 people with type 2 diabetes who agreed to have bariatric surgery to lose weight. Researchers found that 42 percent had blood sugar levels that returned to normal after surgery. Some improved so quickly that they went off their diabetes medications before leaving the hospital. Keeping ... Read More