Type 2 Diabetes develops when the body doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level, or when the body is unable to effectively use the insulin that is being produced.
It's a significant health risk, with nearly 3 million people diagnosed with the disease in the UK alone (source: Diabetes UK
). As well as being complex to treat (read expensive), it often has complications and has high co-mortality and co-morbidity rates. So any treatment advances are good news.
New data has just emerged in clinical trials
, with just such good news. An experimental drug called TAK-875 has been shown to lower blood sugar more than an older, generic medicine, whilst also having significantly fewer side effects.
In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (the most robust type of trial possible), TAK-875 reduced blood sugar below a pre-determined level in 48% of those receiving it, compared with 40% of those prescribed Glimepiride, an older drug. The 8% variance may seem nominal, although in clinical terms it is hugely significant.
Importantly, many people receiving traditional treatments for Diabetes also develop hypoglycaemia, a complication in which blood sugar is lowered too much, which again is a serious health risk. TAK-875 indicated a 2% positive response rate, compared with about 19% of patients in the Glimepiride group, which means far, far less people developed hypoglycaemia with TAK-875.
It will undoubtedly be a while before the drug is licensed for use, although in the meantime (just as when we last looked at advances in treating Type 1 Diabetes), the steps needed to curb the disease and see a reduction in the number of people dying from the condition (and its complications) are well understood; increasing awareness of personal health risks, changes in lifestyle and improved access to integrated diabetes care services, which are just as important as continued research into drug therapies.
Private diabetes treatment news: 17 March 2012