Long-term safety of diabetes drug?

Long-term safety concerns about the drug liraglutide suggest that more studies are needed to assess the risks of this type of medication, according to new research published in Cell Metabolism.

A fairly new type of drug, liraglutide is used to help patients with type 2 diabetes regulate their blood sugar. The medication mimicks the effects of a hormone that is naturally secreted by the intestine after eating meals.

The study found that mice who were exposed to high doses of the drug over a period of six months experienced beta cell burnout. The results indicated "raising concerns" about how beta cells function after being exposed to the drug long-term.

Potential risks

Liraglutide may also present risks for thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer, as well as other symptoms like chronic pain, depression, swelling of the face and headaches, according to the National Institutes of Health.

While researchers aren't sure that humans would experience the same pancreatic "burnout" witnessed in the mice, they hope to investigate further how liraglutide may lead to dangerous side effects in people with type 2 diabetes.

"Although our current preliminary findings point to potentially undesirable consequences of chronic daily liraglutide treatment," said Midhat Abdulreda, from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, "it is too early to change the standard of care."

Source: Cell Press

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