A New Type of Diabetes Drug
A medication that increases dopamine activity in the brain has received Food and Drug Administration approval as a treatment for type 2 diabetes.
The medication, Cycloset, is a new formulation of an old drug called bromocriptine that is used in higher doses to treat Parkinson's and other diseases. Cycloset was found in clinical trials to help 35 percent of people with diabetes reach their blood glucose goals, compared with just 10 percent of a group that took a placebo. As required by new FDA guidelines, Cycloset was also proved not to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Cycloset, made by VeroScience Inc. of Tiverton, R.I., is unlike any diabetes medication currently available. It mimics dopamine, a chemical messenger between cells in the brain that is known to be low in people with metabolic diseases and that contributes to insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers are unclear how Cycloset improves blood glucose levels. Taken in the morning, Cycloset was shown to blunt after-meal glucose spikes throughout the day, leading to lower average glucose levels.
The therapy, which is not yet on the market, can be used alone or in combination with other diabetes medications to help improve blood glucose control. Possible side effects of bromocriptine include nausea, lactation inhibition, and dips in blood pressure upon standing that can lead to dizziness or loss of consciousness. The FDA recommends caution if taking bromocriptine with medication that lowers blood pressure. People with diabetes should consult their doctor before taking any new medication.
In a press release, Brian Schrader, cochairman of S2 Therapeutics, a Bristol, Tenn., pharmaceutical company licensed by VeroScience to manufacture and sell Cycloset, said the companies intend "to seek a partner to commercialize Cycloset in order to bring this important new therapy to patients as soon as possible."