Safety of New Medications for Diabetes

Diabetes is a major problem in the US, and the severity of this problem is rising on a daily basis. As per

some reports, nearly 9% of Americans are already suffering from diabetes. That is around 29 million

people. At the same time, 86 million more have already reached the prediabetes stage, where they have

high blood sugar but not high enough to suffer from type 2 diabetes.

The trend seems likely to continue due to unhealthy lifestyles and diets followed by Americans. In spite

of the best efforts of campaigns and providing information, many people are unaware that their

lifestyles can lead to this dangerous disease.

Medications have been available for fighting against the growing problem of diabetes for years.

However, their effectiveness leaves a lot to be desired. That is why continuous research takes place in

order to develop new medications and treatments for getting rid of diabetes. Currently, a new set of

medications have been approved by the FDA for use in treating type 2 diabetes. Two of them are

mentioned below.

Afrezza

Afrezza is available in the form of a powder and is meant to be inhaled. The action time for this drug is

incredibly fast. It is meant to be taken with meals so as to improve the glycemic control for adults

suffering from diabetes. Extensive studies have been performed with the drug. It has shown significant

improvements for patients of type 1 diabetes and even in patients suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. Blood

sugar levels were considerably reduced in both sets of patients.

However, there is a side effect to Afrezza due to its method of administration. Because it is meant to be

inhaled, it can lead to bronchospasm among patients who also suffer from chronic obstructive

pulmonary disease or asthma. Other possible side effects of this drug include cough, hypoglycemia and

throat pain or irritation. Doctors remain hesitant to prescribe this medication, and sentiment towards it

has been less than positive.

Tanzeum

Manufactured by GSK, Tanzeum is albiglutide which has been classified as a type of glucagon-like

peptide-1 receptor agonist. Glucagon-like peptide-1, or GLP-1 for short, is a hormone which can help

normalize the levels of blood sugar in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. Tanzeum will bind to the

GLP-1 so as to stimulate the release of insulin that is dependent on glucose. At the same time, the

release of glucagon, that boosts sugar levels, will be blocked. Tanzeum is meant to be administered by

injection. It is supposed to be used in conjunction with exercise and diet.

Tanzeum has been noticed to be effective after 8 clinical trials. It has even been tested alongside other

common treatments for type 2 diabetes. Albiglutide, the main component in Tanzeum, can cause side

effects ranging from mild to severe. Some of them include muscle pain, joint pains, cough, diarrhea and

loss of voice. It may also increase risk of thyroid cancer.

The fact remains that medications will not be enough to curb the increase in the number of diabetes

cases in America. People need to implement strict changes in their lifestyle and diet. Exercising and

maintaining strong control over weight is essential as well.

A Diabetes Drug May Help Obese Women Conceive And Have Healthier Children

Women who are suffering from obesity often have great difficulty in becoming pregnant. Many of these women choose to have infertility treatments to help them to conceive. Once the child or children are born, the children are much more prone to suffer from obesity themselves – a problem of great concern. A new diabetes drug that is currently in clinical trials may be the answer to this problem. Researchers who developed the new drug found that the problem originates in the mitochondria in the mother’s eggs.

What are Mitochondria?

Mitochondria are tiny compartments that are present in every cell in the body, and that perform many diverse and vital functions to keep the body healthy. One of the most critical functions is the conversion of the energy from food into energy that can be then be used by the cell. The mitochondria function almost like a miniature battery in cells, and when damaged, often self-destruct. The energy-making qualities of mitochondria is usually damaged in obese women, and this cell damage is also present in their eggs. The children are then born with damaged mitochondria, and a propensity for obesity, just like the mother.

Cellular stress can damage all parts of the body, including liver, pancreas and brain. A genetic mutation in the mice caused them to overeat and become obese. The scientists closely monitored the cell stress of these obese mice and whether the activity in the mitochondria was affected, as well as the eggs when used in IVF (in vitro fertilization). This led to the discovery that the mitochondria in the mice had been damaged. The mice born from these eggs also were found to have lower mitochondrial activity, and a higher propensity for obesity.

A new diabetes drug that is currently in clinical trials may have found a treatment for this problem. So far, the drug has proven to be effective when tested on obese mice, and showed lower levels of cellular stress and higher levels of mitochondrial activity. When the eggs of the obese mice treated with the drug (called BGP-15) were then fertilized and transferred to mouse “surrogate mothers,” they did not develop into overweight fetuses.

Both parents contribute DNA to a child, but the mitochondria from the mother’s eggs are the basis for the mitochondria developed in every cell in the child’s body. This diabetes drug may have shed a light on how obesity is passed onto children, and offer new hope to obese women hoping to conceive and have healthier children as well.

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