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Injection Helps Treat Hard-to-Control Type 2 Diabetes

Adding daily shot improves blood glucose levels when standard regimen fails, study finds

FRIDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with type 2 diabetes who can't control their blood glucose levels with the drug metformin alone do better after adding injections of the drug liraglutide compared to oral doses of another drug called sitagliptin, researchers report.

In the study, Dr. Richard E. Pratley, of the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington, and his colleagues randomly assigned patients whose blood glucose wasn't sufficiently controlled by metformin (Glucophage) to receive 26 weeks of treatment with liraglutide (Victoza) by injection or sitagliptin (Januvia) by mouth.

The researchers found that the patients did better on liraglutide, although between 21 percent and 27 percent of patients reported nausea, compared to 5 percent of those on sitagliptin, according to the report published in the April 24 issue of The Lancet.

Liraglutide "was well-tolerated with minimum risk of hypoglycemia. These findings support the use of liraglutide as an effective agent to add to metformin," they wrote in a news release from the journal.

In a commentary accompanying the study, Dr. Andre J. Scheen and Dr. Regis P. Radermecker of the University of Liege in Belgium noted that patients may think it's easier to take one sitagliptin pill a day compared to daily injections of liraglutide. And liraglutide, they added, is more expensive, but it has improved benefits in terms of blood glucose control and weight reduction.

More information

For more about type 2 diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, April 22, 2010

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