Comparing Diabetes Drugs: Januvia vs. Victoza
Study Shows Patients Get Better Control of Blood Sugar With Victoza
Assessing Treatment Options
Pratley says the study makes a clear case for the superiority of Victoza in patients who need aggressive blood sugar lowering and desire weight loss.
"But that doesn't mean it is necessarily the best option for everybody," he says. "Some patients don't need as much glucose lowering as others and some prefer an oral medication."
Merck spokesman Lee Davies tells WebMD that many patients prefer Januvia because it is taken by mouth and is less likely to cause nausea than the GLP-1-targeting therapies.
He points out that more than 21 million prescriptions for the oral drug have been written in the U.S. alone since it was approved three and one-half years ago.
"There is a history of experience with Januvia that has not yet been demonstrated with Victoza, which was just approved," he says.
Diabetes specialist Richard M. Bergenstal, MD, agrees that no single drug is best for all patients. He says patients who need more than metformin alone now have many options.
Bergenstal is executive director of the International Diabetes Center-Park Nicollet in Minneapolis and is president of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association.
He says both Victoza and Januvia are good options for patients concerned about weight gain or low blood sugar, which are common side effects with older diabetes drugs like sulfonylureas.
But insulin and sulfonylurea may be better options for patients whose main concern is cost because they are much cheaper than the incretin-based therapies, he says.
"All the diabetes drugs have their pros and cons, and certainly no single drug is the best choice for every patient," he adds.