Earlier this week, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced that they had approved a new drug for type 2 diabetes (see the FDA's press release here).  Type 2 is the most common kind of diabetes and can develop at any age despite the old misnomer that it was an "adult-onset" disease.  Essentially, your body does not properly release insulin in response to increases in blood sugar (for example, after a meal).  Therefore, sugar is not properly metabolized and builds up in your blood.

Diabetes is a huge concern not only as the seventh leading cause of deaths in America, but also in the high medical costs for  those afflicted.  Statistics show that more than half of diabetes cases are women.  Pregnant women can be affected by gestational diabetes, which typically goes away after the baby is born but can lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes.  This may contribute to the slight sex bias in Type 2 diabetes, where women comprise 58% of all cases (according to a 1995 study by the National Diabetes Data Group).  There is a nice discussion on sex-specific differences in diabetes on Medscape Today, if you are interested in reading more.  The article is accompanied by a long list of references for more detailed information.

I don't study diabetes and I'm not a doctor, but based on my limited knowledge and reading, it looks like the new drug (which will be sold as Victoza) has a different target in the pancreas than the other drugs already on the market.  (There was a nice overview in this 2001 review article in the journal Nature.)  It's nice to have more possible treatments since not all drugs work to the same effect in every patient.  There's evidence out there that some drugs act differently even between men and women!  Of course, with any new drug, time will tell if Victoza causes any long-term effects.  However, it is promising to have a new option for those dealing with diabetes and their loved ones as well.  Has diabetes affected you or someone you know in any way and if so, what has been your (or their) experience with the current drugs out there already?

Useful info on diabetes from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse:

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Comments

The diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly common in U.S. kids and teens, especially in those who are overweight. Some studies report that between 8% and 45% of children who've been newly diagnosed with diabetes have the form known as type 2.

I really need this type of information. Thanks for helping me.

This is indeed great news. Even though we can purchase this diabetic aid for Type 2 diabetes over-the-counter, I believe we still need the doctor's supervision and prior prescription for this. We need to be aware about the possible side effects and other precautionary measures involved.

My diabetes was three years. Hopefully there will be a new effective treatment

type 2 is very controllable with preventative care and education. Society provides the mechanisms to increase the numbers of those effected by type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a very common and serious condition that millions of people are already dealing with today. Many more will develop the condition in the years to come and it is therefore one that all people should be informed on. The most important thing is to know what type diabetes you have if you do ever develop it.

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