How would you like to manage your diabetes by taking your medicine just once a month?
You can’t do that yet. But that prospect is on the horizon.
While I seldom write about news that we can’t use at the moment, I think that this is such big news that many of you will want to know about it right now.
Only once before (if my memory serves me) have I ever written about a diabetes medicine that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had not yet approved. That was in 2002 when I wrote about something then called Exendin-4 in my article “The Monster Drug.”
That monster drug, renamed exenatide — made from the venom of Gila monsters — became Byetta after the FDA approved it in 2005 as the first of a new class of drugs, GLP-1 agonists. Byetta became a monstrously successful medication for people with diabetes, including this writer. Full disclosure: I own some shares of stock in Amylin Inc., the company that developed Byetta.
When people take Byetta they inject it before breakfast and before dinner. That twice-a-day coverage isn’t quite as convenient as the second GLP-1 agonist, Victoza.
But when and if the FDA approves an extended release form of Byetta called Bydureon, taking it just once a week will be even more convenient.
Today’s news is about an even longer lasting form of exenatide. This is the biggest news announced at the 71st Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association.
The ADA’s annual meeting is always the biggest diabetes gathering in the world. This year more than 17,500 people, including 14,000 scientists, physicians, and other health care professionals — plus a few regular people and some journalists like me — are meeting in San Diego, California, from June 24 to June 28.
The amount of information presented is staggering. I am making my way through more than 2,000 abstracts and more than 1,600 posters. But they seem to save the biggest news for what they call “Late-Breaking Posters,” some 131 in all. These posters got posted today.