New Diabetes Drug Shows Superior Improvement in HbA1c levels Compared to Jardiance

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By : Suvarna Sheth

A new once-daily oral diabetes medication, semaglutide, was better at lowering blood sugar levels than Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim’s, existing drug, Jardiance in a phase 3a trial.

Semaglutide is a class of drugs known as GLP-1s, which belongs to a group of drugs that stimulate insulin production. The drug is developed by Denmark-based, Novo Nordisk.

“We are very excited about these results, which demonstrate that people treated with 14 mg oral semaglutide for one year achieved statistically significant reductions in blood glucose and body weight compared to people treated with 25 mg empagliflozin [Jardiance],” said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief science officer of Novo Nordisk, in a press release.

The 52- week trial studied the efficacy and safety of 14 mg oral semaglutide compared with 25 mg Jardiance in 816 people with type 2 diabetes, inadequately treated by metformin.

According to the Novo Nordisk press release, the trial achieved its primary endpoint, “by demonstrating a statistically significant improvement in glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) of 1.4% at 26 weeks and 1.3% at 52 weeks, compared to an improvement in HbA1c of 0.9% and 0.8% with 25 mg empagliflozin at 26 and 52 weeks, respectively.”

Semaglutide also demonstrated weight loss of 4.2 kg at 26 weeks and 4.7 kg at 52 weeks versus 3.8 kg with 25 mg empagliflozin at both 26 weeks and 52 weeks.  The increased weight loss with oral semaglutide was also significant compared to Jardiance at the 52-week time point.

The new drug also achieved a target of HbA1c below 7.0% by 72% of people, which is consistent with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendation.

The most common side effect for oral semaglutide was mild to moderate nausea, which diminished over time.  Novo Nordisk hopes the drug will be approved in 2020.


  1. “Oral semaglutide shows superior improvement in HbA1c vs empagliflozin in the PIONEER 2 trial,” 2018, May 29.