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In January of 2010, The FDA finally approved Novo Nordisk's long delayed GLP-1 analog, Liraglutide, which is marketed under the name, "Victoza."
This drug was developed in the same time frame as Byetta and is similar in concept. But its side effect profile was more troubling, hence the delay. It was released with a warning that it might produce thyroid cancers, though its maker tried to suggest this was only a problem in rodents. In fact, its European prescribing information revealed this data from human trials :
The overall rates of thyroid adverse events in all intermediate and long-term trials are 33.5 [Victoza], 30.0 [Placebo] and 21.7 events per 1000 subject years of exposure for total liraglutide, placebo and total comparators; 5.4 [Victoza], 2.1 [Placebo] and 0.8 events, respectively concern serious thyroid adverse events. In liraglutide-treated patients, thyroid neoplasms [i.e. cancers], increased blood calcitonin and goiters are the most frequently thyroid adverse events and were reported in 0.5%, 1% and 0.8% of patients respectively.You can read the full FDA-approved prescribing information for Victoza here:
Victoza Prescribing Information.
Based on what is reported there, in return for a more disturbing side effect profile, Victoze appears to produce less blood sugar control than Byetta does and it doesn't look as if Victoza has as good an impact on weight as Byetta does, either.
More importantly, the prescribing information now includes a new paragraph reporting that
There have been postmarketing reports of acute renal[kidney] failure and worsening of chronic renal failure, which may sometimes require hemodialysis in Victoza®-treated patients [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)]. Some of these events were reported in patients without known underlying renal disease.
With less impact than Byetta and more dangerous side effects this is a drug there is no reason for anyone to take.
BydureonByetta is now available in a once a week form called Bydureon, however this drug, which was approved in early 2012 is so new, and its release was so long delayed by the FDA because of potential side effects, that it would be prudent to wait a few years to find out what the real side effects are before taking it.
With any long-acting GLP-1 analog drug the longer duration means that if you get the serious gastrointestinal reaction that GLP-1 analogs can cause, it's going to take a lot longer to wash out of your body. Don't try Bydureon unless you've taken Byetta for long enough to determine that it gives you dramatic improvements in both blood sugar and weight control without severe nausea.