Lilly Diabetes Drug Shows a Life-Extending Promise
By ALEX BERENSON
Can Byetta, an injectable drug that lowers blood sugar, really help people with diabetes to live longer?
Possibly, according to the results of a major clinical trial presented at the American Diabetes Association annual conference. In the trial, called Accord, patients with Type 2 diabetes were prescribed Byetta or any of several other diabetes medicines. Patients who took Byetta had a much lower chance of dying, about 75 percent lower, than those who took any other drug.
The finding, presented in June, has generated a stir among diabetes researchers, although so far it has attracted little public notice. Neither Eli Lilly or Amylin, the companies that jointly market Byetta, is publicizing the findings, in part because no one is sure whether the reduction in the death rate is real or a chance finding. Only about 825 patients in the 10,000-patient Accord trial took Byetta, and those who did were likelier to be healthier than other patients.