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New Diabetes Drug Januvia Wins FDA Approval

Sitagliptin phosphate is the first in a class of drugs that boost body glucose control mechanisms

TUESDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first in a new line of drugs that increase the body's glucose-lowering potential. The drug, called Januvia (sitagliptin phosphate), is made in tablet-form by Merck & Co., and is to be used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, along with exercise and diet.

The drug can be used either alone or in combination with metformin or a peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor gamma agonist in cases when each drug taken alone is insufficient to control glucose levels.

Januvia works by inhibiting the action of dipeptidyl peptidase IV, an enzyme that breaks down insulin-releasing proteins after glucose rises. It enhances blood sugar control by prolonging activity of these proteins, according to an FDA statement.

"For the millions of Americans with type 2 diabetes who continue to have inadequate blood sugar control, the approval of Januvia marks an important advance in the fight against diabetes," Steven Galson, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

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