The drug, dapagliflozin, works differently than Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s Actos, linked to cancer last week, and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)’s Avandia, tied to heart risks in 2007. While those drugs adjust the hormone that regulates sugar, the new pill helps patients excrete sugar through their urine.
“Increasingly, people are on the lookout for problems with these drugs,” said Laurence Kennedy, chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s department of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, in a telephone interview. “There will always be a market for finding newer and different ways to help control blood sugar, but the newest ways will be under increasing scrutiny.”
Some analysts say they won’t project sales for dapagliflozin because of the risks posed by Avandia and Actos. Even if approved after a regulatory panel next month, doctors say they will be slow in using the new drug until more is known about long-term safety. A one-year study reported last year found no cancer or heart risks. Two years of data will be reported June 26 at the American Diabetes Association meeting.