According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and its UK cousin The Lancet, a large clinical trial called DREAM indicates that a GlaxoSmithKline drug called Avandia (rosiglitazone) may prevent Type 2 diabetes in high risk individuals. Avandia is labeled for use to treat Type 2 diabetes, which is considered an epidemic in the U.S. and many other parts of the world. However, the study also raised a concern that preventive use of Avandia may cause heart failure. A Lancet editorial cautioned that “The high cost of therapy and the lack of long-term data mean that healthcare funders are unlikely to see rosiglitazone as an appropriate agent” particularly when diet and exercise programs also are effective prophylatics for this population.
The study also revealed that another drug thought to prevent Type 2 diabetes — ramipril — has a minimal impact on the disease.
Forbes.com observes that
Still, the results are a scientific win because they show that it is possible to develop drugs that prevent diabetes. An entirely new class of treatments is racing to market in the form of Januvia and Galvus, experimental pills developed by Merck and Novartis, which work in a new way. The FDA is expected to approve or reject Januvia in mid-October and Galvus in November. It’s possible that Merck and Novartis could find a way to walk through the door that Glaxo has already opened.