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New diabetes drug Byetta set for European approval

Published on 22/09/06 at 02:56pm

Lilly and Amylin's new diabetes treatment Byetta is set for European approval following recommendation from medicines regulator the EMEA.

Byetta (exenatide) is the first in a new class of diabetes drugs known as incretin mimetics and has been on the US market since mid 2005.

The drug is used as an adjunctive therapy to improve blood sugar control in type II diabetes patients who have not achieved adequate control on metformin and/or a sulfonylurea, two common oral diabetes medications.

The drug works by mimicking the glucose-lowering effects of human hormones called incretins, and not only controls insulin levels but also produces weight loss in some patients.

This is a distinct advantage over some existing diabetes treatments and has helped the drug perform strongly in the US market.

"Exenatide is an exciting treatment option for patients with type II diabetes who cannot control their blood sugar level effectively using the common oral medications metformin and/or sulfonylurea," said Lorenzo Tallarigo, president international operations at Lilly.

Two treatments from another class of oral diabetes drug are also expected to gain approval in Europe shortly. Merck Sharp & Dohmes Januvia (sitagliptin) and Novartis Galvus (vildagliptin) are both dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, which work in a similar way to Byetta.

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