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Newly approved oral anti-diabetic medication now available in Malaysia

Hannah Wong
30 Sep 2019
Dr Zanariah Hussein, Consultant Endocrinologist at Hospital Putrajaya, and Dr Chan Siew Pheng, Consultant Endocrinologist at the launch of Lusefi.

Taisho Pharmaceutical launches Lusefi®, an oral anti-diabetic medication for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The medication is expected to lower blood glucose and provide adequate glycaemic control, serving as a new alternative prescription for T2DM. Lusefi, with its active ingredient luseogliflozin hydrate, is available in the form of 2.5 mg and 5 mg tablets.

Dr Zanariah Hussein, consultant endocrinologist at Hospital Putrajaya, and Dr Chan Siew Pheng, consultant endocrinologist at Subang Jaya Medical Centre, were present at the media launch to discuss the rising prevalence of T2DM in Malaysia and the research that has been conducted in the field of diabetes.

The “big” burden of diabetes

Diabetes in Malaysia is on the rise. More worryingly, according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey conducted in 2015, the prevalence of T2DM in those aged 30 years and below, is increasing. “For those between the ages 18 and 25, you’re going to see diabetes happening in about 1 out of 20 young adults. That is pretty scary, because those are the people that are contributing to the productivity of the country,” said Zanariah.

Zanariah added that the typical Malaysian adult with diabetes is also very likely to be overweight or obese, have hypertension and dyslipidaemia, and is at high risk for cardiovascular and kidney complications. Therefore, multiple risk factor control is important in the management of diabetes. She emphasized that as doctors, “we don’t just control glucose, but we also should control blood pressure, lipid levels, and talk about weight reduction. We need simultaneous intensive control of risk factors to not only reduce cardiovascular risk, but also microvascular complications such as eye, renal or foot complications.”

Chan weighed in on the matter, “if diabetes is not well controlled, it leads to and results in complications … but if we improve glucose control by lowering HbA1c levels, we know that we can improve and influence complications.” She revealed in her presentation that every 1% HbA1c reduction is associated with reduced risk of long-term complications such as: amputations or fatal peripheral blood disease, microvascular complications, stroke, heart attack, and diabetes-related deaths.

Looking beyond glycaemic control

Unfortunately, due to the rising standards of living and the availability of good food in Malaysia, Chan reiterated that there is an increasing number of patients with diabetes in Malaysia who are overweight or obese. Lusefi is a welcome new option for diabetes management, as it controls glucose in an insulin-independent manner and may provide additional benefits such as minimal hypoglycaemia risk, cardiovascular protection, and weight reduction.

Lusefi is an orally active second-generation sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, that is developed and produced by Taisho Pharmaceutical, Japan. Formulated with a mechanism of action that selectively inhibits SGLT2, this treatment lowers blood glucose levels by inhibiting the reabsorption of glucose in the renal tubule, thus increasing urinary glucose excretion, and eventually reducing blood glucose levels. Lusefi is suitable for T2DM patients aged 20 and above.

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