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Newer 'Second-Line' Diabetes Drug May Outperform Older Meds
Date:6/28/2012

THURSDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- A new drug for type 2 diabetes causes significantly less weight gain and may carry lower risks for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), heart attack and stroke than standard medications, a new study indicates.

Researchers in Germany noted that the new drug, linagliptin (Tradjenta), is intended for use in patients that do not fare well with metformin, the most common first-line drug used to treat the disease.

Patients with type 2 diabetes may stop responding to metformin over time. Others who do not respond to metformin alone are given a second drug to help them maintain normal blood sugar levels. The researchers noted that which drug they should be prescribed is unclear.

The researchers pointed out that most patients are prescribed a class of drugs called sulphonylureas to supplement metformin. However, these drugs can sometimes lead to hypoglycemia and weight gain, which increases the patients' risk for heart attack and stroke.

To compare the effects of linagliptin to glimepiride (the most commonly used sulphonylurea), the researchers conducted a double-blind study over the course of two years. The study, which was funded by linagliptin's maker, Boehringer Ingelheim, involved 1,500 people from 16 countries with type 2 diabetes. None of the patients had responded to metformin alone.

Although the effectiveness of the drugs were similar, the study showed the side effects of linagliptin were much less severe than those of glimepiride. The researchers found that 7 percent of patients on linagliptin experienced hypoglycemia, compared to 38 percent of patients treated with glimepiride.

The patients on linagliptin also had fewer heart attacks and strokes compared to those being treated with glimepiride.

The researchers argued that since linagliptin allows the body to increase the amount of insulin it produces in a glucose-dependent way, the risk for hypoglycemia may be si
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Newer 'Second-Line' Diabetes Drug May Outperform Older Meds
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