Side effects occurred with both drugs. Nausea was the most common, reported by 21 percent of patients on Victoza compared with 9 percent among patients taking Bydureon. Diarrhea occurred in 13 percent of patients on Victoza and 6 percent of those on Bydureon, and vomiting was a problem for 11 percent of patients on Victoza compared with 4 percent on Bydureon.
Overall, 8 percent of patients dropped out of the study due to side effects, which the researchers pointed out declined for both drugs over time.
Another diabetes expert weighed in on the study medications.
"Both drugs appear to be about equivalent," said Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
"When these medications are used they are added to other medications that control blood sugar," he said. These include insulin and metformin, Mezitis noted.
The main difference between the drugs is daily versus weekly injections, he pointed out. "It may be easier to do it once a week, but you have to be more proficient injecting Bydureon," Mezitis said.
The mixing of the drug (Bydureon) and injecting using a larger needle may require some practice, he explained. With daily Victoza, injections are done with an smaller, thinner needle and some patients may find that better, Mezitis said.
"It depends on what the patient chooses," he said.
Mezitis noted these drugs cost anywhere from $200 to $400 a month and that many insurance companies cover them.
To find out more about diabetes, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: John Buse, M.D., professor of medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Spyros Mezitis, M.D., Ph.D., endocrinologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New Yor
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