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Well, now we know why celebrity chef Paula Deen was recently hired to promote the daily diabetes drug she takes: That drug is getting some new competition from Bydureon, the first once-a-week treatment for Type 2 diabetes approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA approved the injectable, extended-release drug last month after several delays due to government concerns that it might cause heart rhythm abnormalities.
Manufacturer Amylin Pharmaceuticals expects the drug to be available in pharmacies this month.
Shortly before Bydureon's approval was made public, Deen, 65, revealed that she had had Type 2 diabetes for three years and had just signed an endorsement contract with Novo Nordisk, makers of competitor drug Victoza, which is injected once a day.
Deen, known for promoting the type of high-calorie Southern recipes that diabetics should avoid, was immediately criticized for keeping her disease a secret until it became financially worthwhile not to.
Not that the Food Network star is too worried about the criticism. As she told the Associated Press last week, "I am who I am. But what I will be doing is offering up lighter versions of my recipes."
Both Bydureon and Victoza help the body produce more insulin to reduce high blood-sugar levels. Although once-weekly sounds more convenient than once-daily, a head-to-head comparison study last year found that daily Victoza was somewhat more effective at reducing blood sugar levels.
Like Victoza, Bydureon will come with a warning stating that it caused thyroid tumors in rats during the drug-testing process, according to the Wall Street Journal. Although it's unknown whether either drug will cause tumors or thyroid cancer in humans, they shouldn't be used by patients with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer.
An estimated 26 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, including nearly 11 million age 65 and older. Getting diabetics to monitor their blood sugar levels and take medication regularly has been on ongoing problem, many doctors say. Drugs that can be taken less frequently may help patients more easily keep their disease under control.
In other health news:
Instead of medical bracelet, how about a medical tattoo? An increasing number of Americans are turning to medical tattoos to warn emergency responders about important medical conditions.
They have more.. and they cheat more! While the poor might seem to have the most reason to cheat and steal, a new study shows that the rich are more likely to be dishonest. University of California researchers showed "again and again that upper-class individuals were more prone to unethical behavior than people from more deprived backgrounds," reports msnbc.com.
In the brain, broken hearts hurt like broken bones. Rejection and other heartache can hurt just as much as a physical injury because both kinds of pain are processed in the same regions of the brain, Time magazine reports. The surprising research from UCLA's Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab also found that taking a couple of Tylenol can help ease the pain of hurt feelings.
Is it because of all that sunshine? Hawaiians are more likely than any other people in the United States to say they smiled or laughed a lot yesterday. They're also the least likely to report daily worry or stress or to have been diagnosed with depression. That rosy outlook is one of the reasons the Aloha state ranked first in the new Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index for 2011 released Monday, according to the Washington Post. Want to see where your state ranked? Click here for the website.
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