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Look At The Source Of The Newest Type 2 Diabetes Drug...

The Gila monster is one of two venomous lizards in existence, ranging from 1-2 feet long and weighing no more than 5 pounds, whose natural habitat is being endangered. Its saliva is also the primary source for Byetta (exenatide), the first of a new class of drugs approved last Friday by the FDA to "help" type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar.

Byetta, produced by Eli Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, works like a type of drugs called sulfonylureas that spur the body to produce more insulin. Also, Byetta is referred to as a incretin mimetic, a "first-of-its-kind" drug that mimics action of the GLP-1 hormone that's secreted by the gut to spur insulin production after a meal, but only when blood sugar is high. That's an important difference, according to the FDA, separating Byetta from other drugs that generate insulin secretion regardless if a patient's blood sugar is low or not.

For now, the plan is for doctors to prescribe Byetta, a synthetic version of a protein found in the saliva of the Gila monster that works like GLP-1, with older diabetic drugs via twice-a-day injections.

See anything wrong with this picture? And, more to the point, would you want to take any kind of drug derived from the spit of a Gila monster?

One important fact to remember about drugs, particularly ones considered to be of the "miracle" variety: These branded products hardly ever get to the root cause of a patient's problem any more effectively than snake oil. And there's no reason to take them when there are other safer, healthier and much more affordable options available to you.

Yahoo News April 30, 2005

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