Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Glucose and Zyprexa

Increased glucose levels are generally considered a risk factor for diabetes. Thus, there has been some concern that olanzapine (Zyprexa) may increase glucose levels, which may relate to the increase in diabetes incidence among users of Zyprexa. Glucose is not the only risk factor for diabetes, but it is generally a concern if a medication tends to increase glucose levels.

The following is some rewording and summarizing of Furious Seasons' recent post on one document related to the Zyprexa-glucose issue:

Lilly had some data indicating that patients who took olanzapine plus mood stabilizers had a mean increase in glucose levels while patients who took placebo plus mood stabilizers showed, on average, a mean decrease in glucose levels.

Dr. Mauricio Tohen of Harvard/Lilly (interesting combination) said that he would like to include the above information when discussing Zyprexa data because he said that the glucose increase was reversible. However, another Lilly official pointed out that since Lilly is aiming for long-term treatment with Zyprexa, pointing out that glucose increases can be reversed when the drug is discontinued does not make much sense. Good point: If the drug has a side effect that can be reversed if you stop taking it, don't tell anyone -- they might not take your drug in the first place!

I'd be interested in tracking down what exactly happened to this data, including whether it ended up hitting the scientific literature in a manner that was accurate, or whether the glucose issue was swept under the carpet. More to come on this one if I can successfully dig up more information.

Mega hat tip to Furious Seasons, who continues his excellent reporting on all things psychiatric, with a special focus on bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and pharma. I strongly encourage all to read his post on glucose and Zyprexa here.

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