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Single weekly jab may treat diabetes

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Patients with type 2 diabetes may soon be able to replace twice-daily injections with a single weekly jab, suggest Canadian researchers.

According to trial results, a new formulation of the drug exenetide provides better glycaemic control and is more convenient than a regimen of 14 injections per week.

The team from the University of Toronto studied 259 patients over 30 weeks. Half received a long-acting release formulation of exenetide once a week and the rest received exenetide twice a day.

They found 77% of the patients who had the weekly injection achieved the target HbA1c of 7.0% or less, compared with 61% who had the twice-daily injections. Patients who had exenetide weekly also had lower average levels of HbA1c – 6.4% compared with 6.8% in the twice-a-day group.

‘Exenetide once-weekly resulted in significantly greater improvements in glycaemic control than exenetide given twice a day, with no increased risk of hypoglycaemia and similar reductions in body weight,’ the authors told delegates last week at a European Association for the Study of Diabetes conference in Rome, Italy.

Iain Frame, director of research at the charity Diabetes UK, said the study results looked promising.

‘Any research that will help provide the evidence needed to reduce the number of injections required to achieve good glucose control is to be welcomed,’ he said.

‘The research will need to be extended and the results confirmed before we will see any change in current practice,’ he added.

A second study presented at the conference suggested that young people object to having their diabetes monitored via email and mobile phones.

Previous studies suggest the technology can help them maintain control of HbA1c levels. But researchers from the diabetes centre at Leeds General Infirmary, who studied 52 young people aged 14 to 24, found nearly half were unwilling to have their HbA1c monitored by email or text message.

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