New diabetes drug approaches disease differently

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A new oral medication for diabetes called Invokana has been approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes.

According to a report by Kathleen Doheny published on WebMD Health news online, Invokana not only helped patients improve their blood sugar control, but also to lose weight and control blood pressure. The medication works differently than other medications to control blood glucose.

Invokana works by blocking glucose from being reabsorbed by the kidneys, which increases the amount of glucose urinated and lowers the amount of glucose in your blood.

The drug is a selective sodium glucose co-transporter inhibitor, or SGLT2.

Other diabetes drugs lower the amount of glucose made by the liver, stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin or improve the sensitivity of blood cells to absorb more sugar lowering glucose in the blood stream.

In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it properly, causing glucose levels in the blood to rise. The medication may be a way for some type 2 diabetics to avoid taking insulin and also helpful in losing weight, according to the report.

In a 26-week study, those on Invokana lost 6 to 8 pounds, which also helps to control blood sugar.

Lifestyle changes including diet, exercise, and weight loss often help to control blood sugars.

The side effects of Invokana include kidney problems, too much potassium in the blood, low blood sugar, urinary tract infections and yeast infections.

Invokana will also cost a lot more than other diabetes drugs. A 100-milligram starting dose, is about $10 a pill or $300 a month.

Dr. Art Mollen's practice is located at 16100 N. 71st St. in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-656-0016 or log on to