What’s Coming in 2022 for Type 2 Diabetes Medications + Technology?
In 2022, we expect to see a variety of new medication and technology options to help people manage life with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Here’s a glimpse at what’s just around the corner.
Tirzepatide: Once-weekly injectable medication for T2D
Tirzepatide from Lilly Diabetes will be the first and only dual GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonist.
- glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP)
- glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)
Tirzepatide improves your diabetes health by increasing insulin production, reducing the amount of sugar your liver produces and slowing the digestion process.
- A1c reduction: Trial participants with A1c levels starting at/above 8.0 percent experienced about a 2.5-point reduction. For example: 9.5 percent down to 7.0 percent. According to reports from SURPASS-4 91 percent of participants achieved an A1c of 7 percent or lower, while 43 percent achieved an A1c of 5.7 percent or lower.
- Weight-loss: The most significant weight loss compared to any other diabetes medication. The average weight loss after 52 weeks was about 25 pounds, with trial participants taking the highest dose (15 mg) losing about 27 pounds, and on the lowest dose (5 mg) about 17 pounds.
- Lessened risk of hypoglycemia compared to other medications: Yes, tirzepatide can potentially cause low blood sugars but the risk appears to be very minimal compared to taking insulin or a sulfonylurea drug.
- Reduction in triglycerides and cholesterol: After 52 weeks, the highest dose, Tirzepatide reduced total cholesterol by about 5.6 percent, triglycerides by 22.5 percent, LDL cholesterol by 7.9 percent, VLDL by 21.8 percent and increased HDL by 10.8 percent.
While FDA-approval of tirzepatide was expected in late 2021, the latest expectation is early 2022.
Omnipod 5: Closed-loop patch pump seeking FDA-approval
The Omnipod 5 is worth the hype for anyone with diabetes who requires both basal and bolus insulin. The Omnipod 5 tubeless patch pump will also feature a closed-loop system that communicates with your Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
While its first FDA-approval will only be for type 1 diabetes, there are already ongoing trials of using the Omnipod 5 in type 2 diabetes, eventually making it the first and only closed-loop pump available to those with T2D.
Through this closed-loop system, the Omnipod 5 uses your CGM data to automatically adjust your insulin doses, helping you achieve your personal blood sugar goals. You’ll also manage and communicate with your Omnipod 5 system via the smartphone app.
The most significant benefits, seen in research, from using the Omnipod 5 includes:
- Increasing your “time-in-range”
- Fewer low blood sugars
- Less hour-by-hour stress
- Manage everything through a smartphone
Clinical data showed that after three months of using the Omnipod 5, participants’ “time-in-range” increased from 52.2 to 68.9 percent in children, and from 60.4 to 72.3 percent in teens and adults.
After one year of using the Omnipod 5, the percentage of children with an A1c below 7.0 increased from 23 to 44 percent, and in adults it increased from 42 to 58 percent.
While FDA-approval for use in T1D was initially expected in 2021, it was delayed. The industry is anticipating FDA-approval of the Omnipod 5 in early 2022! We are hoping approval for those with T2D is just around the corner in 2023.
Semglee & Rezvoglar: New Long-acting Insulins
While these were both approved in 2021, Rezvoglar hasn’t actually arrived at your local pharmacy yet—you can expect it in early 2022. And Semglee is so darn new that you may have to tell your doctor about it.
Both of these new long-acting insulin options are ““Biosimilar: denoting or relating to a biopharmaceutical drug designed to have active properties similar to those of a drug that has previously been licensed.” (Dictionary.com)biosimilar” in safety and effectiveness to long-acting insulin glargine, Lantus. Manufactured by Mylan Pharmaceuticals (Semglee) and Lilly (Rezvoglar), they’re intended to create more affordable insulin options for people with diabetes amidst the insulin pricing crisis.
Semglee can be swapped in place of your Lantus pens at the pharmacy—without a new prescription specifically naming it. Rezvoglar, on the other hand, requires a fresh prescription from your doctor.
Should you switch? If you’re already able to get Lantus at an affordable price, switching to either of these newbies may not do much for you. Talk to your local pharmacist to see what either of these options might cost you based on your current health insurance coverage.
In case you missed it: just approved in 2021…
Actually, a lot happened in 2021! In case you missed, we’re still pretty darn excited about the recent FDA-approval of these resources to help you live well with diabetes:
CeQur Simplicity insulin patch pump: This “ultra-simple” insulin patch delivery device can cover your mealtime (bolus) insulin needs as a person with T2D. All you have to do is squeeze the side-buttons for a two-unit delivery.
It can be filled with 100 to 200 units of rapid-acting insulin, and worn for up to three days before you’ll need to fill and place a new patch. Simple and straightforward, this is a great system for anyone who wants to make insulin management a bit easier.
Nevro’s HFX Solution for painful diabetic neuropathy: This implanted device treats painful diabetic neuropathy with significant results in about 80 percent of those who try it—some of whom report it brought their pain levels down to nearly zero. The minimally invasive procedure involves a brief out-patient visit during where the device is placed near your spinal cord. It sends out a specific frequency of 10kHz and small electrical pulses to your spinal cord.
These pulses calm the nerves throughout your back and legs that are causing severe pain. Many users report going off their pain medications after experiencing the benefits of the HFX Solution system. Non-addictive with no real side-effects, this has been called a “game-changer” for people struggling with the chronic pain of neuropathy.
Freestyle Libre 2 smartphone app: While the sensor itself was approved for use in 2020, the app to actually scan your sensor with your smartphone wasn’t approved until 2021. The perks of the Freestyle Libre 2 (compared to the 14-day Libre sensor) include:
- Optional alerts for low and high blood sugars
- Approved for use in children
- Same price as the first Libre system
- Considerably less costly than other CGM brand systems
Exenatide (Bydureon) approved for use in children and teens: While this medication has been around for many years for adults with T2D, it only just received approval for children ages 10 to 17 years old last year. It’s a once-weekly injectable GLP-1 medication that improves blood sugar levels by increasing insulin production and reducing the amount of glucose your liver produces.
Finerenone (Kerendia) for chronic kidney disease: The first non-steroidal treatment for people with T2D and chronic kidney disease works in several ways to help protect your kidneys from gradually declining function, end-stage kidney disease, severe cardiovascular issues and hospitalization.