Diabetes drug improves glucose control without increasing risk of hypoglycemia, U-M study finds

University of Michigan leads study showing TAK-875 helps control blood sugar in type 2 diabetes by boosting insulin

TAK-875, a new treatment for type 2 diabetes, improves blood sugar control and is equally effective as glimepiride, but has a significantly lower risk of creating a dangerous drop in blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, according to a new study.

The results of the phase 2 randomized trial were published Online First Sunday in The Lancet.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes accounting for 90 percent of the 150 million people in the United States currently living with the disease. It is primarily caused by a lack of response to insulin which leads to high blood sugar and a variety of chronic conditions.

Free fatty acid receptor 1, also known as G protein-coupled receptor 40, or GPR40, plays a vital role in stimulating and regulating the production of insulin.

It works by boosting the release of insulin from pancreatic ß-cells when glucose and fatty acids rise in the blood, such as after a meal, which results in a fall in blood glucose levels. Drugs that activate the FFAR1 receptor have the potential to help diabetics release more insulin and improve control of blood glucose levels.

TAK-875 is a novel oral medication designed to enhance insulin secretion in a glucose-dependant manner, which means that it has no effect on insulin secretion when glucose levels are normal, and as such has the potential to improve the control of blood sugar levels without the risk of hypoglycemia.

In the study, Charles Burant, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Health System, and colleagues randomly assigned 426 patients with type 2 diabetes who were not achieving adequate glucose control through diet, exercise or metformin treatment to one of five doses of TAK-875, a placebo, or glimepiride, a conventional diabetes treatment. The primary outcome was change in hemogloblin A1c from the start of the study.

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