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

Entries Tagged as 'Diabetes Medication'

Why Insulin Costs So Much

July 19th, 2015 · 7 Comments

Everyone who has type 1 diabetes has to use insulin, and about 25 percent of the people who have type 2 diabetes rely on it to control their blood sugar. But its costs are skyrocketing and no end is in sight.

At the annual convention of the American Diabetes Association in Boston this June I listened with perhaps 1,000 other diabetes professionals to one of the world’s top experts on diabetes talk about insulin costs.  Irl Hirsch, MD, is the professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, also treats patients with diabetes, and has type 1 diabetes himself.

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For several years, readers of my articles have written me to complain about the rising cost of insulin. Because I know how expensive that insulin has become, I made sure to hear Dr. Hirsch’s presentation. But I was surprised to see that he cited one of my articles in a slide that he presented.

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Why Diabetes Drugs Are Expensive

July 16th, 2015 · 3 Comments

Practically everyone who has diabetes uses one or more drugs to help to manage it. But most of these medications are expensive, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved far fewer diabetes drugs in the past 10 years than between 1995 and 2004.

At the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in Boston earlier this month, thousands of diabetes professionals listened with interest as four experts explained why. I represented HealthCentral.com during the entire conference and made a point to be in the audience as four experts brought us up to speed about the “Costs of Medications for Diabetes.”

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Bydureon and Byetta Change Our Brains When We Eat

July 13th, 2015 · 2 Comments

More and more of us who have type 2 diabetes take one of the new drugs that mimic the action of the GLP-1 hormone so that we can manage blood sugar better. When we do, we are often pleasantly surprised to learn that taking one of these two drugs can also help us to lose a lot of weight.

Now, a  study by Dutch researchers at the Diabetes Center of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam  shows us how this positive side effect happens.

Researchers had been trying to learn how those drugs could help us get down to a normal weight, so the Dutch researchers used sophisticated techniques to see how they work. They studied one type of these GLP-1 mimetics called exenatide, which we use in the U.S. as the brands Bydureon and Byetta.

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Posted in: 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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