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FDA Approves Bydureon for Type 2 Diabetes: New is Not Always Better

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For people who have type 2 diabetes, there is some good news. The U.S. FDA has just approved the drug Bydureon for the control of blood sugar.

Bydureon can only be administered by injection once a week. It is not a novel drug because its closest competitor, Victoza, has been around for several years already. Victoza is another drug for type 2 diabetes that is injected once a day.

Bydureon has been in the news for several years but its use in the United States was previously declined by the FDA because of concerns regarding its ability to induce abnormal heart rhythms. However, a recent study performed by the manufacturer of the drug, Amylin, revealed that this was not the case. (1)

Bydureon is expected to be a blockbuster drug for many type 2 diabetics because of the ease of dosing: once a week by self-injection. This is far better than taking multiple medications or insulin injections many times a day. Moreover, this also eliminates the need for frequent blood sugar checks.

One of the biggest obstacles for better outcomes in diabetics has been compliance with therapy. This once-a-week injectable medication is bound to make control of blood sugar relatively easy as well as improve the quality of life. The other benefit of the drug is that it also induces weight loss.

Bydureon is a GLP-1 receptor agonist and mimics the actions of a glucagon-like peptide that induces insulin release when blood sugar becomes elevated. However, consumers should note that Bydureon also has some negatives.

Unlike Victoza, its blood-lowering efficacy is not as great. Further, preparation of the drug for injection is cumbersome and also requires a larger needle.

There is also concern that the drug may cause pancreatitis, increase risk for thyroid cancer and affect the heart. Current trials are ongoing to evaluate the drug further. (2)

A month’s supply of Bydureon is expected to cost about $330 - $350.

Metformin, which is an excellent drug for type 2 diabetes, has been around for decades. It also induces weight loss and costs about $10 - $35 a month but it has to be taken once or twice a day.

Remember when it comes to medications, new is not always better. When manufacturers conduct their own trials, some negatives are usually not mentioned.


1. Wall street Journal. FDA Approves Amylin's Bydureon Diabetes Drug. Retrieved Jan. 29, 2012. abstract: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204573704577187600650286634.html

2. FDA approves Bydureon. Retrieved Jan. 29, 2012. http://www.drugs.com/bydureon.html

3. Victoza. Retrieved Jan. 29, 2012.

Reviewed January 30, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jessica Obert

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

There was a time when i totally believed what the drug industry said about new products. Today my opinion has changed. Not only is the drug industry not very forthcoming about negative effects, but it pays physicians to market the drugs. in the field of psychiatry, several drugs have been observed to have no clinical benefit but yet physicians falsely promoted them on behalf of the industry as being the greatest thing since slice bread. at the end of the day medicine is a business with many charlatans who offer false promises and only deliver disappointments..

January 30, 2012 - 11:05am
EmpowHER Guest

Having been a guinea pig for Advantia, I would never do another new drug until it has been in the market for a long time. Advantia sent me to the hospital twice and I had to take myself off of it because my doctor refused to believe that the drug was causing me heart problems. But, I hope it is a promising drug that will benefit type 2 diabetics.

January 30, 2012 - 10:35am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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