Once a week drug for diabetes might be on the anvil
Posted on May 07 2014 | IANS
New Delhi, May 6 : A new research is paving the way for the discovery of a once a week drug for diabetes and obesity.
The research by Arnab De and Richard DiMarchi at US' Indiana University is leading towards development of a new potential, alternative drug candidate for diabetes and obesity, which needs to be taken only once a week, a release said here Tuesday.
"Diabetes patients often have to take an insulin injection after every meal. An overdose of insulin may drastically reduce blood glucose leading to life-threatening diabetic coma. Hence we wanted to develop a non-insulin drug, which would hopefully act for a prolonged period of time so that patients do not need to take it every day," De said.
He further said: "Around the time I started the work, there was this peptide hormone called GLP1, which reduces blood sugar and obesity without the accompanying risk of coma. However, it could not be used as it is very unstable and breaks down within minutes inside the body."
Now according to the research coauthored by the two scientists, they "envisioned a prodrug of GLP to extend the duration of action of this peptide hormone" and their research succeeded in "prolonging peptide hormone action to once-a-day and once-a-week formulations".
A prodrug is a medication that is administered in an inactive or less than fully active form and then it becomes converted to its active form through a normal metabolic process,
Subho Mozumdar, a faculty member at the University of Delhi, pointed out the problem linking diabetes and obesity: "One problem commonly associated with insulin treatment is that patients gain weight, and weight gain paradoxically causes diabetes. Hence an effective GLP-1 based therapeutic could be revolutionary, as it also reduces obesity.
"A daily or weekly drug formulation makes it even easier for patients. This could have a huge market given the epidemic of diabetes," he said.