New Once Weekly Treatment Option for Type 2 diabetes

As seen in Consultant Connection April 2012 Issue
Kathleen A Duncan RPh. Consultant Pharmacist ICP Inc.

The FDA has approved an extended release form of Byetta, under the brand name Bydureon. It is the fi rst ever once weekly treatment for type 2 diabetes. It works in the same manner as Byetta and Victoza but is only given on a once a week basis.

Research indicates that Bydureon produced better glycemic control and less nausea than Byetta. Weight loss with all three agents was similar with average loss being about 6-8 pounds over 6 months. The cost of all three agents is similar.

Bydureon 2 mg is given once per week (every 7 days) at the same time of day. It can be given with or without meals. While Victoza and Byetta are available in prefi lled syringes, Bydureon is not, due to its extended release formulation. It is provided as a powder in single dose vials with diluent provided in pre-fi lled syringes. The medication should be given immediately after mixing. If a patient forgets a dose it should be given as soon as it is remembered provided the next dose is scheduled at least
3 days away.

Side effects associated with use include nausea, diarrhea, headache, vomiting, constipation, pain and itching at injection site, and dyspepsia. Some patients may notice a bump at the injection site that goes away as the drug is absorbed. Bydureon does carry a black box warning about the possibility of
thyroid tumors similar to the warning on Victoza. All the agents in this class also carry a warning in relation to the possibility of rare fatal and nonfatal pancreatitis. Patients with a history of pancreatitis should consider other therapies.

The approval of a once weekly medication for the treatment of diabetes is truly a milestone. However, this medication is not appropriate for every patient. Patients should work closely with their Physician to determine what is the best treatment option to manage their disease.

Works Cited: Rx Consultant March 2012; Pharmacists Letter March 2012; Vol: 28 No. 3

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