Researchers have developed a pill to restore the injectable medication for diabetes from Diabetes Research Centre at the University of Leicester in England. Now the medication known as glucagon-like peptide-1 or GLP-1 might be available in pill form in upcoming days.
The Research funded by drug company Novo Nordisk, the company that makes the drug, called oral semaglutide. Based on the results of clinical trial, the study reports claim significant drop in blood sugar levels for people on the oral medication. No significant increase in low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) compared to a placebo over six months.
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The findings also showed that people taking the highest dose of the pill lost a large amount of weight about 15 pounds. Compared to a weight loss of fewer than 3 pounds for people on the inactive placebo pill.
The study included just over 1,100 people with type 2 diabetes recruited from 100 centers in 14 countries around the world. The volunteers’ average age was 57. The average time they’d had type 2 diabetes was six years. On average, they considered obese.
Hemoglobin levels ( HbA1C)
The study volunteers randomly placed into treatment groups that lasted 26 weeks. One group given a once-weekly injection containing 1.0 milligram (mg) of semaglutide. Five groups given one of five doses of oral semaglutide 2.5, 5, 10, 20 or 40 mg. Another group was given escalating doses of the pill version, starting with the smallest dose and ending at 40 mg. The final group was given an oral placebo. The participants’ average hemoglobin (HbA1C) levels were between 7 and 9.5 percent. HbA1C also called A1C is a measure of average blood sugar control over two to three months. The American Diabetes Association generally recommends an HbA1C of less than 7 percent for most people with type 2 diabetes.
According to the study lead author, Dr. Melanie Davies, “The A1C reductions and weight loss were very impressive and similar to what we’ve seen with the weekly injection of semaglutide.” Davies is a professor of diabetes medicine at the Diabetes Research Centre at the University of Leicester in England.
Two forms of drug
The highest dose of the pill performed similarly to the injectable form as far as blood sugar control and weight loss. Those on the 40-mg oral dose and those got the injection observed an average drop in their HbA1C of 1.9 percent, the study showed. More than 70 percent of those who took the pill saw a weight loss of at least 5 percent. The two forms of the drug also similar in the reported side effects. Affected up to around 80 percent of those taking both forms of the drug. The most common side effects were mild to moderate digestive concerns that tended to go away with time. Nausea less common in people who started on the lowest dose and then given stronger doses.
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Three reported cases of pancreatitis inflammation of the pancreas. A potentially serious condition that linked to this class of medication in previous studies. One person was taking the injectable form of the drug. The other two were on the oral drug 20 mg and 40 mg.