Health Highlights: Dec. 6, 2017
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Pfizer to Offer Generic Version of Viagra
The maker of Viagra is introducing it's own cheaper generic version of the impotence drug in order to compete with a version from generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceuticals.
Pfizer's generic version will be available as of Monday at half the $65-a-pill price of Viagra. Teva can also start selling its generic drug on Monday, but hasn't disclosed the price, the Associated Press reported.
More generics will become available next summer, which could drive prices down by as much as 90 percent.
"Patients are paying fortunes. When generic Viagra comes out, they will be very happy," Dr. Nachum Katlowitz, a urologist at New York's Staten Island University Hospital, told AP.
When it was launched in 1998, Viagra was the first pill for impotence. Competition in the form of Eli Lilly's Cialis arrived in 2003, and Cialis is now the leader in the U.S. market, followed closely by Viagra.
Extreme Low-Cal Diet Led to Type 2 Diabetes Remission: Study
An extremely low-calorie diet put type 2 diabetes into remission for many patients, according to a new study.
The finding from the U.K. study of about 300 people with type 2 diabetes that a calorie-restricted diet can help people lose weight confirms similar results from previous studies.
What's new in this study is the impact that weight loss had on diabetes. Half of the patients on the diet appeared to be in diabetes remission a year later, meaning their blood sugar levels have fallen below a certain level without the use of medication, Newsweek reported.
The study was published Tuesday in The Lancet medical journal.
For the first three to five months, half of the participants consumed liquid meal replacements that provided about 825 calories a day. The typical recommendation for a healthy woman is about 2,000 calories a day and about 2,500 calories a day for a healthy man, Newsweek reported.
After those first few months, participants slowly began to eat normal food again.
While nearly half of those in the diet group were in diabetes remission a year later, only four percent of those in the control group went into remission, Newsweek reported.
The liquid meal replacements were donated for the study by the company that makes them, Cambridge Weight Plan. The researchers also received financial support from the company. The cost of the diet used in the study was not revealed.
The authors noted that along with following the diet, study participants were provided with counseling and told to boost their physical activity levels. The researchers plan to follow the participants for at least four years.
While an extremely low-calorie diet shows promise, it may not be practical for most people with diabetes, according to Dr. Sona Shah, an endocrinologist at NYU Langone Health.
"Usually I tell my patients to restrict their calories to 500 calories less than whatever they're doing. Getting below 1,000 calories is virtually impossible for most patients on a day-to-day basis," she told Newsweek "I think it's a very hard thing to adhere to."
Shah also said anyone considering this type of diet should do so under medical supervision.
New Diabetes Drug Approved by FDA
A new diabetes drug that lowers blood sugar and also helps people lose weight has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The once-a-week injection drug Ozempic (semaglutide) is approved for people with type 2 diabetes. It stimulates the body's insulin production and reduces appetite, the Associated Press reported.
The drug is from Danish company Novo Nordisk. A company-funded study of 1,200 type 2 diabetes patients found those who took Ozempic had average reductions in long-term blood sugar levels at least 2.5 times greater than those who took the daily diabetes pill Januvia.
Patients who took Ozempic also lost two to three times as much weight as those in the comparison group, the AP reported.
Many people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Substantial weight loss can help lower their blood sugar and better control their diabetes.
Novo Nordisk is also assessing Ozempic separately for weight loss alone.
Ozempic costs $676 for a four- to six-week supply without insurance. Novo Nordisk also markets a similar once-a-day shot, Victoza, the AP reported.
Jimmy Kimmel's Son Has 2nd Heart Surgery
Jimmy Kimmel's son underwent a second heart surgery on Monday.
The late-night TV host's son was born April 21 with a serious heart problem and had open-heart surgery a few days after his birth, CNN reported.
The second surgery was successful and Kimmel is taking time off from his show to care for his son.
His experience as the parent of a seriously ill child has led Kimmel to become a high-profile advocate in the health care debate, CNN reported.
In a July tweet updating his son's condition, Kimmel wrote: "Please remind your Congresspeople that every kid deserves the care he got."