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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa

Entries Tagged as 'Diabetes Medication'

Pros and Cons of Injectable Diabetes Drugs

October 9th, 2014 · No Comments

Most diabetes drugs cause us to gain weight. But those in the rather new class of drugs called GLP-1 inhibitors actually lead to weight loss.

People with type 2 diabetes take these drugs by injection. Insulin, the drug that people with type 1 have to inject to manage their diabetes, is notorious for leading to weight gain.

Clinical trial studies show that people with diabetes who take one of these new GLP-1 drugs generally loose weight. I know that they help us lose weight because I lost so much weight myself when my doctor switched me from the older drugs.

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Negotiate for Your Diabetes Drugs

September 29th, 2014 · No Comments

Like most of us, my health insurance covers some of the cost of medications. But because I don’t need any diabetes medication and am in good health, I use few prescription drugs and don’t come close to reaching my deductible. So I pay the whole cost out of my pocket for the few medications that I get from time to time.

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Consequently, I have had to learn that American pharmacies operate like third-world businesses in one important respect. We have to negotiate with them.

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Short-term Insulin: Long-term Results for Type 2 Diabetes

June 8th, 2014 · 1 Comment

Insulin has usually been the last resort for those of us who have type 2 diabetes. “If you don’t shape up, I’m going to make you inject insulin,” is a threat we may hear from our doctors.

When all else fails and our blood sugar is still too high after trying the pills for diabetes, many of us go on insulin, although usually with reluctance. But by that time most of the beta cells of our pancreas that store and release insulin into the bloodstream have also failed.

Ongoing research at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital suggests that we’ve got it backwards. When people with type 2 diabetes take insulin for a short term soon after their diagnosis, it can have long-term effects.

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The Safety of Diabetes Drugs

April 6th, 2014 · No Comments

A possible connection between one of our newest and most important classes of diabetes drugs and pancreatic cancer has frightened many of us. But people with diabetes can now breathe easier.

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The United States Food and Drug Administration and its European counterpart just released their joint findings concluding that these drugs, which include Byetta, Victoza, Bydureon, and Januvia, have “no compelling evidence of an increased risk of pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer.” The full-text of this report, “Pancreatic Safety of Incretin-Based Drugs — FDA and EMA Assessment,” is available free online in one of our most prestigious medical journals, The New England Journal of Medicine.

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Why We Take Which Diabetes Drug

March 22nd, 2014 · 2 Comments

Although I have managed my diabetes by eating low-carb ever since 2007 and enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who has diabetes, I certainly recognize its limitations and the importance of diabetes drugs.

Low-carbing isn’t easy. The transition from fueling our bodies with carbs to one of burning fat can challenge us in seven ways as I wrote here last month. Even then, when we get through the transition period, many people find that sticking with it can take too much discipline, particularly when family members all too willingly share their bagels and bread.

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Dangers of Sulfonylureas for Diabetes

October 28th, 2013 · No Comments

If you doctor started you on one of the sulfonylureas to manage your diabetes, you may be significantly more likely to die early than if you take metformin. Research presented on Wednesday showed that among more than 92,000 people in the United Kingdom with type 2 diabetes those who took only sulfonylureas were 58 percent more likely to die from any cause than those who took only metformin.

The research is in an abstract, “Association between first-line monotherapy with sulfonylurea versus metformin and risk of all-cause mortality,” presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Barcelona, Spain. The findings are preliminary because they haven’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal. And since the findings come from an observational study, the higher risk of death might be that doctors prescribed a sulfonylurea to sicker people. Another concern might be that Bristol-Myers Squibb, which sells Glucophage, a brand of metformin, provided financial support for the study.

Lots of us still take one of the sulfonylureas, which was the first oral drugs to help us manage type 2 diabetes. For more than half a century we have been using them — a class of drugs that includes Amaryl (glimepiride), Glucotrol XL (glipizide), and glyburide.

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Safety of Diabetes Drugs

September 13th, 2013 · 3 Comments

Two studies published in professional journals this year have cast renewed doubt about the safety of one of our most important class of diabetes drugs. But the leading regulatory agencies both in Europe and the U.S. seem to think that those studies are flawed.

We call this class of drugs incretin-based or GLP-1 agonists. They include Byetta, Victoza, and Bydureon.

The most recent investigation of this class of drugs came out last month in the American Diabetes Association’s journal Diabetes Care. Dr. Peter Butler of UCLA is the lead author of “A Critical Analysis of the Clinical Use of Incretin-Based Therapies.” It was prompted by a study conducted by Dr. Sonal Singh and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, “Glucagonlike Peptide 1–Based Therapies and Risk of Hospitalization for Acute Pancreatitis in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.” That article appeared in JAMA, and both are available online.

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Diabetes Supplements are Drugs Too

August 25th, 2013 · No Comments

Many people with diabetes use supplements to help them manage their blood sugar. They use everything from bitter melon and gymnema sylvestre to cinnamon and fenugreek to help them control their diabetes. And now to judge from the many emails I get, berberine has become the big hope.

Most people who take supplements for blood sugar control do that because they worry about the side effects of prescription medication. The problem is that they imagine that their supplement of choice doesn’t have any side effects.

Any medication that does anything for us also has side effects. Some are obvious, but many others don’t show up until lots of people have used them for years. Then it is too late for the early adopters.

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How We Defeated Obesity and Diabetes

August 22nd, 2013 · No Comments

The biggest challenge in managing our diabetes is controlling our weight. But fortunately we have three roads that will take us there.

Cheryl, who is my friend and colleague at HealthCentral, traveled one of these roads. I have traveled the other two. Each of them have been a great trip.

A couple of weeks Cheryl wrote “How I Defeated Obesity and Diabetes” for the obesity area of HealthCentral. Gastric bypass surgery is the road that worked for her.

Since Cheryl knew that I had defeated obesity via other means, she asked me to round out the picture with my experience. Our intention is to provide a comprehensive roadmap of the three ways that we know from our own experience that will work for controlling obesity.

Cheryl has written many posts for HealthCentral about surgical ways to manage weight. I have also written a couple of posts here, more recently at http://www.healthcentral.com/diabetes/c/17/154007/reverses-bariatric/.

I once considered surgery to manage my weight. But instead I took the  other two routes that are available to those of us who have diabetes.

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Using Marijuana to Manage Diabetes

June 30th, 2013 · 4 Comments

When I stopped smoking marijuana, I got diabetes instead. Maybe the timing was just a coincidence, but a new study indicates marijuana and diabetes may be connected.

Between 1972 and 1984 I was a heavy marijuana user. But I wasn’t heavy. In fact, in 1972 under the influence of marijuana I was able for the first time to manage my weight while becoming much more active. Then, I became an editor of a business magazine where I sat on my butt for long working hours every day, stopped using pot, and gained back all the weight I had lost under the influence of that illegal drug.

I was addicted to marijuana. Stopping was one of the hardest things I ever did, but as my cough got worse over the years I knew that I had to stop to save my health.

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