New and Emerging Drugs and Targets for Type 2 Diabetes: Reviewing the Evidence

Miller, Brien Rex; Hanh Nguyen; Jia-Haur Hu, Charles; Chihyi Lin; Quang T. Nguyen
November 2014
American Health & Drug Benefits;Nov2014, Vol. 7 Issue 8, p452
Academic Journal
BACKGROUND: Diabetes is a deadly and costly disease. The number of adults in the United States with newly diagnosed diabetes has nearly tripled from 1980 to 2011. At the current pace, 1 in 3 US adults will have diabetes in their lifetime. Currently, 14 classes of drugs are available to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus, but only 36% of patients with type 2 diabetes achieve glycemic control with the currently available therapies. Therefore, new treatment options are desperately needed. DISCUSSION: Despite the availability of many pharmacotherapies, in 2011 an estimated 3.1 million (14.9%) patients with type 2 diabetes still reported not taking medications to treat their diabetes. Patient compliance is a major obstacle facing practicing clinicians on a daily basis. New treatment options are desperately needed, but efficacy and tolerability are no longer the only criteria contributing to the success of a drug. Ease of administration, convenient dosing frequency, being weight control friendly, and having a low risk for hypoglycemia are important factors for the survival of a new drug in the US healthcare system. The present review is focused on important new drugs and drug classes in the pipeline, as well as on recently approved drugs, including sodium glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, glucagon-like peptide-1 agents, and new insulin therapies, as well as on the technologic improvements in the delivery and dosing frequency of some of the currently available drugs. CONCLUSIONS: In the United States, diabetes can be expected to continue to wreak significant human and financial tolls. The associated complications will continue to climb if they are not controlled and stopped. New therapies for diabetes are clearly needed that will better address these unmet needs. The common threads among the emerging therapies are their convenience of administration and dosing frequency, which are important to the improvement of patient adherence.


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