New drug approved for type 2 diabetes

Most diabetes today is from obesity, liver inflammation, lack of muscle mass, and intake of simple sugars and starches.  In these situations, peopke make insulin, but are resistant to its effects.  Sugar accumulates, and damages blood vessels, producing impotence, blindness, amputations, etc – it’s a devastating disease!

Many people with this type 2 diabetes (often associated with high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, high trigylcerides lipid levels in the blood, and sometimes associated with sleep apnea) do not even know they have the disease!

If your BMI (click here for BMI calculator) is > 30 (or Asian descent and > 25), you might consider asking your doctor to check you for diabetes.  This can be done by measuring a fasting blood sugar, or probably better, the HemoglobinA1C.  Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood; the A1c concentration gives a long-term average of your blood sugar over weeks to months and may be more accurate at diagnosing diabetes than an isolated fasting blood sugar.

While I believe that changes in diet and exercise can eliminate diabetes in many overweight and obese folks (it got rid of my prediabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea), we should not ignore medications.  Indeed, I took metformin for the first 6 months of my weight loss.

This week, the FDA announced the approval of a new drug for diabetes:


For Immediate Release: May 2, 2011
Media Inquiries: Morgan Liscinsky, 301-796-0397;
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA approves new treatment for Type 2 diabetes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Tradjenta (linagliptin) tablets, used with diet and exercise, to improve blood glucose control in adults with Type 2 diabetes.

People with Type 2 diabetes do not produce or respond normally to insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. Over time, high blood glucose levels can increase the risk for serious complications, including heart disease, blindness, and nerve and kidney damage.

“This approval provides another treatment option for the millions of Americans with Type 2 diabetes,” said Mary Parks, M.D., director of the Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “It is effective when used alone or when added to existing treatment regimens.”

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, affecting between 90 percent and 95 percent of the 24 million people in the United States with diabetes. Tradjenta increases the level of hormones that stimulate the release of insulin after a meal by blocking the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase-4 or DPP-4, which leads to better blood glucose control.

Tradjenta was demonstrated to be safe and effective in eight double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies involving about 3,800 patients with Type 2 diabetes. The studies showed improvement in blood glucose control compared with placebo.

Tradjenta has been studied as a stand-alone therapy and in combination with other Type 2 diabetes therapies including metformin, glimepiride, and pioglitazone. Tradjenta has not been studied in combination with insulin, and should not be used to treat people with Type 1 diabetes or in those who have increased ketones in their blood or urine (diabetic ketoacidosis).

Tradjenta will be dispensed with an FDA-approved Patient Package Insert that explains the drug’s uses and risks. The most common side effects of Tradjenta are upper respiratory infection, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, muscle pain, and headache.

Tradjenta is marketed by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., Ridgefield, Conn., and Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly Co.


Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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