April 23, 2014

Juvisync Approved for Combined Treatment of Diabetes and High Cholesterol

First combination drug to treat type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol in one tablet.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved Juvisync (sitagliptin and simvastatin), a fixed-dose combination (FDC) prescription medication that contains two previously approved medicines in one tablet for use in adults who need both sitagliptin and simvastatin.

About 20 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes, and they often have high cholesterol levels as well. These conditions can lead to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and blindness, among other chronic conditions, particularly if left untreated or poorly treated.

Sitagliptin is a dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitor that enhances the body’s own ability to lower elevated blood sugar and is approved for use in combination with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. Simvastatin is an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, or statin, approved for use with diet and exercise to reduce the amount of “bad cholesterol” (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or LDL-C) in the blood.

“This is the first product to combine a type 2 diabetes drug with a cholesterol lowering drug in one tablet,” said Mary H. Parks, M.D., director of the Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “However, to ensure safe and effective use of this product, tablets containing different doses of sitagliptin and simvastatin in fixed-dose combination have been developed to meet the different needs of individual patients. Dose selection should factor in what other drugs the patient is taking.”

This FDC is based on substantial experience with both sitagliptin and simvastatin, and the ability of the single tablet to deliver similar amounts of the drugs to the bloodstream as when sitagliptin and simvastatin are taken separately. Juvisync is a convenience combination and should only be prescribed when it is appropriate for a patient to be placed on both of these drugs.

Juvisync was approved in dosage strengths for sitagliptin/simvastatin of 100 mg/10 mg, 100 mg/20 mg and 100 mg/40 mg. The company has committed to develop FDC tablets with the sitagliptin 50 mg dose, as Juvisync 50 mg/10 mg, 50 mg/20 mg and 50 mg/40 mg. Pending availability of the FDC tablets containing 50 mg of sitagliptin, patients who require this dose should continue to use the single ingredient sitagliptin tablet. There is no plan to develop FDCs with the sitagliptin 25 mg dose as use of this dose is quite low.

Simvastatin is currently marketed in dosage strengths of 5, 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg. Due to recent restrictions placed on the use of the 80 mg dose because of a higher risk of muscle toxicity, there will not be a FDC using this dose. There is also no plan to develop FDCs with the simvastatin 5 mg dose as use of this dose is quite low as well.

The FDA has recently become aware of the potential for statins to increase blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. This risk appears very small and is outweighed by the benefits of statins for reducing heart disease in diabetes. However, the prescribing information for Juvisync will inform doctors of this possible side effect. The company will also be required to conduct a post-marketing clinical trial comparing the glucose lowering ability of sitagliptin alone compared to sitagliptin given with simvastatin.

Juvisync is approved with a Medication Guide that provides important information to patients. The most common side effects of Juvisync include upper respiratory infection; stuffy or runny nose and sore throat; headache; muscle and stomach pain; constipation; and nausea.

Juvisync is manufactured by MSD International GmbH Clonmel, Co. in Tipperary, Ireland.

Source: FDA

Older Type 2 Diabetes Drugs Work Well

While new diabetes drugs have been introduced on the market, recent studies have found that the older drugs, such as second generation sulfonylureas and metformin (sold under the brand names Glucophage, Diabex, Diaformin, Fortamet, Riomet, Glumetza, and others) work just fine in controlling blood glucose for most patients.

These older drugs are less expensive, and, according to researchers, a drug such as Metformin appears to have the best benefit, particularly when risk is accounted for.

Metformin was first approved by the FDA for diabetes treatment in 1994 and marketed in the United States for diabetes treatment in 1995 by Bristol Myers Squibb under the brand name Glucophage.

The study did not examine the effectiveness of the most recent class of anti-diabetes drugs called incretin mimetics, such as exenatide (Byetta) and sitagliptin (Januvia).