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Janumet: Aggressive, First-Line Diabetes Therapy

Do you have type 2 diabetes and not take any medication? Is diet and exercise alone failing to keep your blood sugar under control? If so, there is now a new drug option available to you. The drug is called Janumet, and it is taken twice daily. It is a combination of two different drugs: metformin (an older drug that is used as a front-line treatment for diabetes) and Januvia (a newer drug that also lowers blood sugar). 

Initially, Janumet was only available once other therapies such as metformin or Januvia had failed to adequately control blood sugar. However, on February 28 2008, the Food and Drug Administration approved use of Janumet for people who have never before taken medication for their type 2 diabetes, or who are currently using a sulfonylurea drug such as Amaryl (glimepiride). Because Janumet is a combination of two different drugs, it may be considered an aggressive initial treatment for type 2 diabetes. However, the advantage of aggressively treating diabetes, even early on, is that it may be possible to slow the progression of type 2 diabetes. Dr. Sethu Reddy, U.S. Director for Scientific Affairs for Diabetes and Obesity at Merck (the manufacturer of Janumet), highlighted an important advantage of the combination of Januvia and metformin: "neither of these medications cause much hypoglycemia." However, he warned that therapies must always be individualized and left to the professional healthcare provider. As always, if you are interested, be sure to talk to your healthcare team about whether you fit the criteria of patients that would benefit from Janumet or Januvia.

 

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