December 12, 1996 in Nation/World

Diabetes Drug Wins Preliminary Support

Compiled From Wire Services

Holding out the possibility that many thousands of diabetics could reduce or even stop their insulin shots, the government’s scientific advisers recommended approval Wednesday of the first drug to attack the underlying cause of diabetes’ most common form.

Parke Davis’ Rezulin “is a truly novel approach,” said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Dr. Solomon Sobel before a panel of FDA advisers voted unanimously to support the drug.

It puts doctors “in the realm of treating Type II diabetes in a more fundamental way,” he said.

Rezulin, known chemically as troglitazone, somehow re-sensitizes the body to insulin, a hormone that converts blood sugar into energy.

Researchers believe the drug stimulates a gene to produce more insulin-controlled proteins that, in turn, remove this blood sugar, or glucose, from the bloodstream - essentially giving insulin more opportunity to do its job.

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