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Bydureon Now Available in the US

Following the US approval of Bydureon late last month, the drug became available at pharmacies across the nation in mid-February. Bydureon is the first once-weekly drug to be approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It belongs to a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists, which stimulate the body to produce insulin and reduce glucose production only when blood glucose levels are too high. Because of these effects, GLP-1 receptor agonists can help people with type 2 diabetes improve blood glucose control without increasing the risk for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). GLP-1 receptor agonists also suppress appetite, which helps some patients achieve significant weight loss. Besides Bydureon, two other GLP-1 receptor agonists are available in the US – Victoza (injected once daily) and Byetta (injected twice daily). Amylin, the manufacturer of Bydureon, is offering eligible patients a co-pay savings program (called the Bydureon Steady Savings Card), which can offset co-pay costs by up to $50 per month for two years (making many co-pays free). A patient assistance program is also available to eligible patients without prescription drug insurance coverage (for those paying out of pocket, Bydureon will cost $323 per month). For more information on Bydureon and GLP-1 receptor agonists, see the NewNowNext in diaTribe #39 and visit the Bydureon website (which includes a video on how to inject the drug) at www.bydureon.com. –BK

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