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FDA Gives Stamp of Approval to Weekly Diabetes Treatment

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Some good news for sufferers of type 2 diabetes: the FDA has approved Bydureon, the first weekly treatment for the disease.

The injection is the long-acting form of Byetta, a twice-daily shot. It works by stimulating pancreas cells to produce insulin when blood sugar is too high, and is intended to be used alongside diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control among type 2 diabetics.

While the FDA had previously expressed concerns that Bydureon could increase the risk of heart problems, the drug got the sign-off on the condition its manufacturer, Alkermes PLC and Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., conduct a study to determine whether the medication does indeed increase those risks.

“With Bydureon, U.S. physicians and patients can now choose a therapy that offers continuous blood sugar control in just one dose per week,” said John Buse, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, director of the Diabetes Care Center, and chief of the division of endocrinology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, in a news release. “New treatment options are essential for the millions of adults with type 2 diabetes who continue to struggle to achieve optimal blood sugar control.”

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