Tanzeum: New Diabetes Med Approved

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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Tanzeum (albiglutide) has just been approved by the FDA for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It is intended to be used in combination with diet and exercise to help improve your blood sugar.

How is Tanzeum used?
Tanzeum is a once-weekly subcutaneous injection given in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm region.

What strengths and dosage form will Tanzeum be available in?
Tanzeum is available in 30 mg and 50 mg single-dose pens. It will be sold in a carton of 1 or 4 pen(s) and the package also contains 29-gauge 5-mm thinwall needle(s) for injection.

What is the recommended dosage?

The recommended dosage of Tanzeum is 30 mg once weekly. However, this may be increased to 50 mg once weekly if needed.

When will Tanzeum be available?

According to the manufacturer the anticipated availability date for Tanzeum will be in the third quarter of 2014, so you should see it in pharmacies by the end of this year.

Does Tanzeum need to be injected with meals?

No—Tanzeum can be injected at any time of day, regardless of when you eat.

Can this medication be used in patients with type 1 diabetes?

No. This medication is only indicated for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Are there any precautions associated with Tanzeum?

Yes. Tanzeum has a boxed warning regarding the possible risk of thyroid tumors as well as thyroid cancer.

Are there any contraindications to Tanzeum (anyone who should not use it)?

Yes. Tanzeum should not be used in patients with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (both are types of thyroid cancer).

How should you store Tanzeum once it has left the pharmacy?
Tanzeum is to be stored in the refrigerator at 36ºF to 46ºF or at room temperature not to exceed 86ºF for up to 4 weeks prior to use.

What are the most common side effects of Tanzeum?

The most common side effects  include: diarrhea, nausea, injection site reactions, back pain, cough, and cold or flu symptoms.

Can I use Tanzeum with other diabetes medications?

Yes. Tanzeum can be used with your other diabetes medications, including insulin.

Are there other similar treatment options for type 2 diabetes?

Yes. Bydureon is in the same class of medication as Tanzeum and is also injected once weekly.

Victoza and Byetta are also in the same class; however, they need to be injected daily.

Tanzeum as well as Bydureon, Byetta, and Victoza are in a class of medications known as a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1).

GLP-1 medications help increase the release of insulin from your body in the presence of elevated blood sugar levels. These medications also delay gastric emptying which means that they help you feel full longer.

Does the manufacturer have any assistance programs?

Yes. GlaxoSmithKline has a program, GSK for You, for those who qualify and do not currently have prescription insurance coverage.

Where can you find more information on Tanzeum?

Take a look at the official manufacturer’s website for Tanzeum for more information, and watch for prices, images, and news here.

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