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New Diabetes Drug Helps Lower Blood Sugar

Januvia part of a new class of medications

TUESDAY, Oct. 17, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Merck & Co.'s Januvia (sitagliptin phosphate) is the first in a new class of diabetes drugs to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that helps the body's own ability to lower elevated blood sugar.

The agency said Tuesday that it approved Januvia in addition to diet and exercise to improve high blood sugar levels among people with type 2 diabetes. Januvia, a type of drug called a DDP-4 inhibitor, may be prescribed alone or in combination with two other popular diabetes medications, the FDA said in a statement.

Januvia aids proteins that increase the body's supply of insulin after blood sugar rises. The drug was studied among 2,719 people with type 2 diabetes; common side effects included upper respiratory infection, sore throat, and diarrhea.

Type 2 diabetes is the disease's most common form, accounting for up to 95 percent of diagnosed cases in the United States, the FDA said. It occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don't properly process insulin that is produced. Complications can include heart disease, blindness, nerve damage, and kidney problems.

More information

For more about type 2 diabetes, go to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.

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