Combining Lilly and Amylin drug with insulin intake found to promote weight loss

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Combining a diabetes drug marketed by Eli Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals controls blood sugar and promotes weight loss more than insulin alone, according to a new study.

Researchers at sites in the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Greece and Israel recruited 261 patients with Type 2 diabetes taking daily injections of Sanofi-Aventis’ insulin analog Lantus (insulin glargine [rDNA origin]) and randomly assigned them to receive placebo or twice-daily injections of Lilly and Amylin’s Byetta (exenatide). Among the 138 taking Byetta, 60% achieved almost normal blood sugar levels and lost an average of 4 lbs., compared with those in the placebo group, who gained 2 lbs. on average and of whom 35% lowered their blood sugar to the same degree.

“This study may be the best result ever for patients whose diabetes is inadequately controlled on a combination of pills and insulin,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School medical researcher and lead study author John Buse stated. “Until now, it was inconceivable that you could get such patients under excellent control with weight loss and no significant problems with hypoglycemia.”

The study appeared online in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine and will appear in the print edition on Jan. 18.