Rapid-acting insulin analog newly available on Canadian market

    ~ Apidra(TM) offers safe and effective glucose control when injected
    before or after meals ~ Apidra(TM) SoloSTAR(R) pre-filled insulin pen
    complements company's latest insulin

    LAVAL, QC, Feb. 17 /CNW/ - Sanofi-aventis Canada Inc. announced today
that adults with diabetes who require a rapid-acting insulin at mealtime can
benefit from another choice now that Apidra (insulin glulisine) is on the
market. Clinical studies involving more than 3,000 patients have shown that
Apidra safely and effectively lowers blood glucose (sugar) levels when used
either within 15 minutes before or within 20 minutes after starting a meal.
Both dosing regimens lower levels of A1C - a key measure of blood glucose
control - at least as well as an injection of regular human insulin given 30
to 45 minutes before mealtime.
    Apidra is designed for the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes to
cover mealtime blood sugar spikes. It is used in patients who require a
fast-acting insulin in addition to a long-acting insulin, such as Lantus, to
better control their blood glucose at certain times of the day. "From a
patient perspective, having that extra dosing flexibility is important as it
allows them to match their insulin injections to their lifestyle," said
Winnipeg's Lori Berard, diabetes nurse educator. "For example, in a restaurant
setting, it may not be possible to time the injection 15 minutes before a
meal, so having the option to take it 20 minutes after starting a meal better
fits their food intake patterns".
    According to Berard, one of the great advantages of this newly-available
insulin is the SoloSTAR delivery device. "The Lantus(R) SoloSTAR(R) pre-filled
insulin injection pen has been such a success with patients taking Lantus that
I can foresee an equal level of satisfaction with Apidra SoloSTAR," she said.
"In that sense, the two insulins complement one another very well".
    The pen provides a more convenient way to take insulin since there is no
need to load and change insulin cartridges. "Its ease of use will make it very
simple for patients who need to add a rapid-acting insulin on top of their
Lantus regimen and those who may want to transition from another rapid-acting
insulin to be able to benefit from the advantages of SoloSTAR," said Berard.
    Another attribute of the insulin pen is a dial-back safety feature to
correct dose selection errors. It also operates with a low injection force,
allowing for a gentle injection, often important for elderly and arthritic
patients. To help the visually impaired, Apidra SoloSTAR has a raised dot on
the injection button and is different in colour (blue) to differentiate it
from Lantus SoloSTAR (grey).
    Apidra's safety profile has been studied in a real-life setting since
2004 when it was first launched in Europe, offering reassurance to physicians
and patients that this insulin can be administered with peace of mind. It has
been on the market in the U.S. since 2006.
    "Apidra can play an important role for people with diabetes," said Dr.
Amir Hanna, professor in the department of medicine at the University of
Toronto, and staff endocrinologist and deputy division head of endocrinology
and metabolism at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. "It is similar in action
to the insulin produced by the body in response to meals, making it a very
effective insulin therapy. It has a fast onset of action and has been proven
effective in helping patients achieve the recommended A1C target of (less than
or equal to) 7.
    With the launch of a rapid-acting insulin, sanofi-aventis is now able to
offer a full spectrum of diabetes treatment options for optimal management of
blood glucose control in diabetes.

    Diabetes in Canada

    Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not produce or
properly use insulin - the hormone needed to convert glucose (sugar) into
energy. In Canada, more than two million people have diabetes. By the end of
the decade, this number is expected to rise to three million. According to
Health Canada, one-third of adults with diabetes are unaware of their
condition. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, diabetes and its
complications cost the Canadian healthcare system an estimated $13.2 billion
every year. By 2010, it is estimated that this number will rise to $15.6
billion a year, and by 2020 to $19.2 billion a year.

    About Apidra(TM) (insulin glulisine injection)

    Apidra is a recombinant DNA human insulin analog that has a more rapid
onset and a shorter duration of action than regular human insulin after
subcutaneous administration. As with other insulin therapy, hypoglycemia (low
blood glucose) is the most common adverse event of Apidra. Other adverse
events commonly associated with human insulin therapy include allergic
reactions, injection site reaction and lipohypertrophy.

    About Lantus(R) (insulin glargine injection)

    Lantus is a novel recombinant human insulin approved for once-daily
administration in the treatment of patients over the age of 17 with type 1 or
type 2 diabetes who require basal (long-acting) insulin for the control of
hyperglycemia (abnormally high blood sugar). Lantus is also indicated in the
treatment of pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes.
    Most insulins have a "peak of action", which refers to the time at which
insulin reaches its maximum effect in the body. With Lantus, the insulin is
released into the bloodstream at a relatively constant rate throughout the day
and night; therefore, it has no pronounced peak, virtually eliminating the
fear of hypoglycaemia (very low blood sugar).
    Lantus was launched on the Canadian market in 2005 and is now the most
prescribed basal insulin in Canada and around the world. The Lantus SoloSTAR
pen was approved by Health Canada in April 2007 and has been commercially
available for the benefit of all Canadian patients since February 2008.

    About sanofi-aventis

    Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers,
develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of
everyone. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT : SAN) and in New York
    Sanofi-aventis is represented in Canada by the pharmaceutical company
sanofi-aventis Canada Inc., based in Laval, Quebec, and by the vaccines
company Sanofi Pasteur Limited, based in Toronto, Ontario. Together they
employ more than 2,000 people across the country.

For further information:

For further information: Laura Grice, Laine Jaremey, MS&L, T: (416)
847-1319, (416) 847-1321, E: laura.grice@mslworldwide.com, 

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