November 11, 2011

Byetta Has Powerful Anti-inflammatory Effect

Byetta is a diabetes medication that I have wrestled with for several years about using. My endocrinologist and several friends have encouraged me to use it, but I have resisted because of the unpleasant side effects. Then along comes a press release that has me thinking about it again.

Exenatide (Byetta) is a drug prescribed to diabetes patients to improve blood glucose management. Now according to a University of Buffalo study, it has a powerful and rapid anti-inflammatory effect.

"Our most important finding was this rapid, anti-inflammatory effect, which may lead to the inhibition of atherosclerosis, the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and gangrene in diabetics," says Paresh Dandona, MD, UB Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine, UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and senior author.” This is a gigantic plus and will factor into my decision.

It is interesting that the study reports that this anti-inflammatory effect happens completely independent of weight loss over the 12-week study period. This is important as obesity is an inflammatory problem and adipose tissue contributes to inflammation. Weight loss on its own can lead to an anti-inflammatory effect.

The authors of the study state that corticosteroids and insulin which are anti-inflammatory, but neither drug demonstrates such a powerful and rapid anti-inflammatory effect. Plans are under way to use exenatide in acute inflammatory cases in intensive care units or following heart attacks and strokes, where rapid anti-inflammatory effect is required and such drugs may be of potential use and helpful.

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