Magazine article Drug Topics

Diabetes Forums Present New Findings, Diagnostics, Drugs

Magazine article Drug Topics

Diabetes Forums Present New Findings, Diagnostics, Drugs

Article excerpt

More than 1,500 presentations were offered at the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) 60th Annual Scientific Sessions, held recently in San Antonio. They covered the disease and its complications from a variety of angles.

Presentations at the convention called attention to several noninvasive monitors in development, but the only ones marketed-all within the last few months--are AtLast (Amira Medical Inc.) and Freestyle (TheraSense Inc.), both priced in the $70 range, and the approximately $1,000 Lasette (Cell Robotics International Inc.).

Mentioned in several sessions was the Freestyle blood glucose monitoring system. This entry in the less-- invasive monitor category uses a 0.3 microliter blood sample easily obtainable from the arm or thigh, where it is less painful to test. Unaffected by temperature, altitude, or oxygen, this home diagnostic purports to give an accurate reading in 15 seconds. The product was scheduled to hit pharmacy shelves by the end of June.

In other news coming out of the ADA convention:

*Nateglinide (Starlix, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.) drew significant attention. An ADA news conference featured a large, cross-cultural study linking major, short-term quality-of life-improvements with the investigational drug's ability to control mealtime glucose spikes. Donald Simonson, associate professor at Harvard medical school, said his study on short-term, quickly noticeable benefits, backed by several new presentations on the drug's clinical benefits, could help encourage compliance after the drug obtains federal approval. In December 1999, Novartis filed a New Drug Application for the oral agent as monotherapy and in combination with metformin (Glucophage, Bristol-Myers Squibb). At the convention, other research showed nateglinide also works well with glyburide.

*There was considerable interest in the landmark Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation (HOPE) and MICRO-HOPE studies. Those studies showed that ramipril (Altace, Monarch Pharmaceuticals), a long-acting ACE inhibitor, reduced the rates of death, myocardial infarction, stroke, revascularization, cardiac arrest, heart failure, complications related to diabetes, and new cases of diabetes in a broad spectrum of highrisk patients.

Are all ACE inhibitors the same? "That's the big, often-asked question,' commented Byron Hoogwerf, M.D., with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and cochairman of the study's diabetes subcommittee, at the ADA meeting. "If you practice evidence-based medicine, then the answers are still pending for other drugs [besides ramipril]. …

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