The FDA has approved Onglyza (saxagliptin), a once-daily tablet to treat Type 2 diabetes in adults. The medication is intended to be used with diet and exercise to control high blood sugar levels. The hormone insulin keeps blood sugar (glucose) levels within a narrow range in people who don’t have diabetes. People with Type 2 diabetes are either resistant to insulin or do not produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Onglyza is in a class of drugs known as dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors which stimulate the pancreas to make more insulin after eating a meal. “Keeping blood sugar levels in adequate control is essential to the good health of the 24 million people in the United States with Type 2 diabetes,” said Mary Parks, M.D., director of the Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “High blood sugar levels can cause blurry vision and excessive urination and eventually result in such serious conditions as kidney and eye disease.” The most common side effects observed with Onglyza are upper respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infection, and headache. Other side effects include allergic-like reactions such as rash and hives. Approval of Onglyza was primarily based on the results of eight clinical trials. The application seeking FDA approval was submitted before December 2008 when the agency recommended that manufacturers of new diabetes drugs carefully design and evaluate their clinical trials for cardiovascular safety. Although Onglyza was not associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular events in patients who were mainly at low risk for these events, the FDA is requiring a postmarket study that will specifically evaluate cardiovascular safety in a higher risk population. Onglyza is manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. of Princeton, N.J., and marketed by Bristol-Myers and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, of Wilmington, Del.