EXPERIMENTAL DIABETES DRUG APPEARS TO CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR WITHOUT TROUBLESOME SIDE-EFFECTS

Up to now, diabetes medications (insulin sensitizers) have come with certain problematic side effects like weight gain and fluid retention which, in turn, increase the risk of or worsen congestive heart failure. An experimental medication in phase 2 testing, however, appears to be without most of the side-effects associated with existing diabetes drugs.

The drug, known as metaglidasen, seems to work as well as existing medications without the safety issues. It lowers fasting blood glucose levels by statistically significant margins with far less edema (fluid retention) and weight gain. There were no cases of heart failure. The drug also showed no significant effect on liver and muscle enzymes, kidney function, or blood cell formation.

Metaglidasen (created by California-based Metabolex) is one of a new generation of diabetes medications presently under development which includes muraglitazar (Bristol-Meyers and Merck & Co. Inc.) and Galida (AstraZeneca Plc).

The various dosage levels of metaglidasen (200, 400, and 600 mg) should all be in late-stage (phase 3) trials by the middle of 2006. Metabolex is actively looking for a pharmaceutical partner to develop and market this promising new drug.

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