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ADA: New Combination Diabetes Drug Effective After 1 Year Study

A Novo Nordisk drug, IDegLira which combines its long-acting insulin degludec with its type 2 diabetes treatment Victoza, maintained superior blood sugar reduction after one year…. 

The combination therapy also helped more patients achieve recommended blood sugar levels and appeared to reduce side effects of each of the drugs when taken alone.

After 52 weeks of treatment, patients taking the combination drug IDegLira had an average 1.8% reduction in A1c levels. That compared with an average A1c decline of 1.4% for the insulin and 1.2% for Victoza, known chemically as liraglutide.

The Danish drugmaker had previously released data from the trial called Dual I after 26 weeks. The new data, unveiled at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) meeting in San Francisco, showed that IDegLira maintained its significantly superior efficacy over an additional 26 weeks.

The average A1c level after a year was 6.4% for IDegLira, 6.9% for insulin degludec, sold in some markets as Tresiba, and 7.1% for Victoza. ADA guidelines call for A1c levels below 7%. Seventy eight percent of IDegLira patients achieved that goal versus 63% for degludec and 57% for Victoza.

"It provides unparalleled glucose lowering compared to every other drug that’s been developed in diabetes, and it does so very safely," said Professor John Buse of University of North Carolina School of Medicine, one of the lead investigators.

The study included 1,663 type 2 diabetes patients whose blood sugar was not properly controlled by metformin.

Patients taking IDegLira had a mean weight reduction of 0.9 pounds (0.4 kg). That compared with average weight gain of 5.1 lbs (2.3 kg) for insulin degludec and a loss of 6.6 lbs (3 kg) for Victoza.

IDegLira also led to a 37% lower rate of hypoglycemia than the long-acting insulin, researchers said. Victoza has been associated with very low rates of hypoglycemia.

Buse called IDegLira "a particularly synergistic combination" that allowed for gradual dose increases.

"The nausea and other GI side effects that are the Achilles heel for liraglutide is reduced dramatically by the slow titration process," he said.

American Diabetes Association 2014 Scientific Sessions; June 16, 2014.