This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.
By Andrew Briskin, Susannah Chen
Brenzavvy, a type 2 diabetes drug recently approved by the FDA, has just become commercially available at lower cost with no insurance required.
Pharmaceutical company TheracosBio has announced that Brenzavvy (bexagliflozin) is now available in the US. The medication is obtainable with a prescription through Cost Plus Drugs, a company that negotiates directly with manufacturers to offer medications at a lower price. Cost Plus is offering a 30-day supply for $47.85 plus shipping and handling.
This follows the FDA’s announcement in January that the new medication, which was designed to be a more affordable treatment option than other competitors in its class, had been approved to treat type 2 diabetes (T2D) in adults not receiving dialysis.
How much does Brenzavvy cost?
Brenzavvy belongs to a class of drugs known as SGLT-2 inhibitors, which work by helping the body remove excess glucose (sugar) through the urine. However, these medications typically have a steep retail price of hundreds of dollars per month.
Cost Plus Drugs is a public-benefit corporation, licensed drug wholesaler, and online pharmacy founded by Mark Cuban and physician Alexander Oshmyansky, who lives with diabetes. While it does not currently sell insulin, the company, which offers more than 1,000 prescriptions, also sells the SGLT-2 inhibitor Invokana (canagliflozin), which retails on the site at $244 for 30 tablets, down from the list price of $676.
How does Brenzavvy work?
Brenzavvy was approved based on results from 23 clinical trials, which enrolled over 5,000 adults with type 2 diabetes. These trials showed that the medication, which was approved as the first oral treatment for diabetes in cats, effectively lowered blood sugar levels and improved overall diabetes control.
One of the most important trials was the BEST trial, a phase 3 trial that looked at the effects of Brenzavvy on A1C levels over a 24-week period. This trial enrolled 1,700 adults with type 2 diabetes and found that the once-daily medication was able to reduce A1C levels by 0.85% from an 8.3% baseline, indicating that on average, participants’ A1C levels went down from 8.3% to 7.45%.
A1C levels above 7% are associated with an increased risk of complications from diabetes, such as heart disease, kidney disease, and blindness. A reduction of 0.85% in A1C levels can significantly reduce the risk of these complications. Researchers also found participants taking Brenzavvy experienced a 3kg reduction in body weight after 48 weeks, and this weight loss was sustained during the 168 weeks of follow-ups.
Brenzavvy, which can be used alone or in combination with other diabetes medications, is not approved for people with type 1 diabetes. The most common side effect of Brenzavvy was yeast infections.
Brenzavvy is now the fifth SGLT-2 inhibitor approved in the US, along with Invokana (canagliflozin), Farxiga (dapagliflozin), Jardiance (empagliflozin), and Steglatro (ertugliflozin). Only 12% of adults with T2D in the United States are currently taking an SGLT-2 inhibitor, and among those who start, roughly 50% stop treatment within a year due to high cost and insurance barriers.
Learn more about SGLT-2 inhibitor medications:
What Are SGLT-2 Inhibitors, and How Can They Help Your Heart?
Using SGLT-2 Inhibitors to Help Manage Type 1 Diabetes