With over 40 types of diabetes medications currently available, there is a lot to keep up on. In addition, new medications are being studied every year and some make it to the market. Sometimes these are brand new drugs and sometimes they are modified versions or combinations of drugs that already exist. Here is a recap of what has happened so far in 2020.

Trijardy™ XR – Trijardy™ XR was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January. This is a combination of three medications in one tablet for people with type 2 diabetes. It contains Jardiance® (empagliflozin), Tradjenta® (linagliptin), and metformin hydrochloride extended release (ER). These medications are in three different drug classes: SGLT2 inhibitor, DPP-4 inhibitor, and biguanide. That means each of these medications works differently in the body to manage type 2 diabetes. Combination medications are helpful for people who need to take multiple medications to manage their diabetes.

Generic insulins – Companies have been developing generic versions of insulin in recent years, such as Lispro, insulin aspart, and Basaglar. The newest insulin on this list is Semglee basal insulin which was approved by the FDA in June. It is approved for both type 1 and 2 diabetes in children ages 6 to 15 years and adults. Generic insulins must have the same safety, purity, and potency of the original insulin but they might not have the exact same recipe as the original.

Teplizumab – This medication is still in trials but may be available in mid-2021. It is designed to delay type 1 diabetes in people who are at high risk of developing it. New trials completed this year have shown that it may delay the onset of diabetes by up to three years. Stay tuned for more news to come on this medication.

Insulin Icodec – This insulin is also still in trials and doesn’t have a possible release date yet. It’s a once-weekly basal insulin being studied in people with type 2 diabetes. Some of the studies completed this year are showing promising effects. The basal insulins that are currently available need to be injected 1 to 2 times per day. A weekly version would be a big quality of life change for people who require insulin. More research trials are scheduled to begin at the end of this year.

Recall on metformin ER – In May, there was a recall for some versions of metformin ER. Lab testing showed that the tablets contained higher-than-acceptable levels of an impurity that can cause cancer in animals. This only affects the ER form, not the regular form. Also, not all metformin ER was recalled. There are many companies that make this medication and not all of them had high levels of the impurity. If you take metformin ER and you haven’t heard about this from your diabetes care team, check in with them.

Guidance from the FDA – Earlier this year, the FDA drafted new guidance about the way type 2 diabetes drugs are evaluated for safety. From March to June, they were accepting public comments. Those comments are now being reviewed as they write the final draft.

The FDA is proposing that researchers evaluate a drug’s impact on additional health factors beyond diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They are also proposing that research studies include a broader selection of people, such as older adults and people with chronic kidney disease, who may be more likely to have side effects from medications. Often studies include only the healthiest people with type 2 diabetes but this doesn’t reflect the reality for many people. We will look forward to seeing the final version as this guidance will impact the future development of type 2 diabetes medications.

Every year, there are new developments with medications for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. While it can be hard to stay updated, it’s good news that people with diabetes have more treatment options than ever before. If you have questions about any of the medications mentioned in this blog, talk with your diabetes care team.