Novartis' Neoral 'reduces risk of diabetes in transplant patients'
25 July 2006 00:00 in Pharmaceutical Company Product News
Neoral, the Novartis drug prescribed to organ transplant patients to prevent transplanted organs being rejected by the host body, has demonstrated that it can "significantly" reduce the incidence of new-onset diabetes in comparison to tacrolimus.
A clinical trial comparing Neoral with tacrolimus (marketed by Astellas as Prograf) found that although both drugs displayed comparable efficacy after six months of use in kidney transplant patients, the incidence of new-onset diabetes or impaired fasting glucose was 26 per cent in the Neoral group, compared to 33.6 per cent in the tacrolimus.
In addition, fewer Neoral patients required diabetes treatment than tacrolimus patients.
Novartis says the study, entitled DIRECT, is one of the largest kidney transplant trials ever conducted and has provided "new insight" into new-onset diabetes following transplant.
Dr Flavio G Vincenti, a kidney and pancreas transplant specialist with the department of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, commented: "The results of this study are especially important in view of the clear association between diabetes and the development of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in post-transplant patients with a functioning graft."
"By demonstrating the equivalence of Neoral and tacrolimus in preventing organ rejection, this study elevates the need to address diabetes risk as a new strategy to prolong life in transplant patients," he added.
According to the UK's National Kidney Foundation, patients awaiting a kidney transplant in the first two years have a 50 per cent chance of receiving a new kidney. Because of the shortage of kidney supplies, patients are often called at short notice for a transplant, the foundation said. © Adfero Ltd
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