Common type 2 diabetes drug could be mixed with vitamin B to stop medication causing nausea and vomiting, finds study

Type 2 diabetes drugs could be modified with vitamins to stop them causing nausea and vomiting and improving the quality of life for millions of patients, a study claims.

Combining the widely-used Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) medicines – known as incretin mimetics – with vitamin B-12 could reduce the side effects.

Between 20 and 50 per cent of people who take the medicine, which makes the body produce more insulin, suffer from feeling sick and throwing up.

But a scientific study done on shrews showed adding vitamin B-12 into the drug slashed the number of animals which vomited after taking it by 78 per cent.

The researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Syracuse University say their findings are 'very encouraging' for the future of diabetes medicine.

Rates of Type 2 diabetes have increased as people around the world have become more overweight, and it now affects around 25 million Americans and more than three million Brits.

People with Type 2 diabetes cannot properly regulate the levels of sugar in their blood because their body does not use the hormone insulin normally.

GLP-1 medications mimic the hormones in a non-diabetic person's body to prevent patients' blood sugar getting too high.

Up to 50 per cent of people on medication get nausea

They are widely prescribed but cause nausea and vomiting in as many as half of people who take them.

This, the researchers say, is a reason many people stop taking medications, which can increase their risk of deadly complications from the condition.

'Drug regimens often have long lists of side effects which negatively impact treatment,' said Bart De Jonghe of University of Pennsylvania School.

Side effects stop people from taking their medicine

'In Type 2 diabetes, nausea and vomiting top that list. It's the main reason people stop taking their diabetes medications, and diminishes quality of life for millions who do take them.'

In the study the scientists found attaching vitamin B-12 stopped the drug triggering the part of the brain which causes vomiting.

Some 90 per cent of shrews which took the unmodified drug were sick, but only 12 per cent of those that were given the vitamin-combined drug vomited.

Shrews were used for the study because mice and lab rats are unable to throw up.

Dr De Jonghe added: 'The vomiting results are striking and very encouraging.

'It's rare to see such positive results with a new drug compared to the standard. It's hard to not be optimistic.'

Type 2 diabetes is closely associated with obesity and other risk factors include genetics, being over 40 years old, or being of of south Asian, Chinese, African Caribbean or black African origin.

17 July 2018

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