GlaxoSmithKline is bouyant following the publication of data which
suggests that patients trying to control their type 2 diabetes fared
better using the firm's Avandia (rosiglitazone) than older treatments.
The 4,360-patient ADOPT (A Diabetes Outcome Progression Trial) study,
reported in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at an international congress on diabetes in South Africa, demonstrated that, after five years, newly-diagnosed diabetes patients who had been using
one of three oral treatments to control type 2 diabetes, were significantly better controlled on Avandia than those on metformin and sulphonylurea.
Avandia successfully demonstrated a 32% reduced risk of treatment failure versus metformin and 63% reduced risk of treatment failure versus sulphonylurea.
The use of Avandia was, however, associated with more weight gain and oedema (fluid retention), though this was controlled by the use of diuretics. There was also a higher incidence of fractures using GSK's drug, while a similar number of serious cases of congestive heart failure were reported with both Avandia and metformin.
In an editorial in the NEJM, David Nathan of Harvard Medical School spoke of the "modest" benefit of Avandia and, its higher cost meant that metformin remained the logical choice when initiating treatment.
Nevertheless GSK was hugely upbeat. Lawson Macartney, senior vice president of the company's Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine Development Centre, claimed that "with ADOPT, we now have clear evidence from a large international study that the initial use of rosiglitazone is more effective than standard therapies for type 2 diabetes in maintaining blood sugar control."
The company intends to file the study results with US and European regulators in the first half of 2007. Avandia is GSK's second-biggest seller, and generated turnover of £378 million in the third quarter.