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

Entries Tagged as 'Diabetes Medication'

Diabetes Drug Might Stop Beta Cell Loss

June 24th, 2016 · Comments Off

When you have diabetes, you don’t have enough functioning beta cells. People with Type 1 diabetes have quickly lost almost all of these cells that make insulin, and if you have Type 2, you will typically experience a progressive decline in the number and size of your beta cells.

One type of diabetes drugs has been shown in animal studies to stop this progression. It may do this for humans too, but because the drug is so new researchers don’t know yet if it will work the same way for us.

The technical name for this drug class is a mouthful:  glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists. Researchers often shorten it to GLP-1 receptor agonist or even to GLP-1. The newest brand of these drugs is Trulicity. The others that are available in the United States are Tanzeum, Victoza, Bydureon, and Byetta, which was the first.

These drugs to help us manage Type 2 diabetes have only been available for just over 10 years. While they haven’t been approved for people with Type 1, some of these people apparently benefit from using them too, when their doctors prescribe them off-label.

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Metformin: Best Oral Drug for Type 2 Diabetes

June 15th, 2016 · Comments Off

Metformin is the type of pill that your doctor should prescribe for you when you begin to manage type 2 diabetes. This is the key recommendation of a huge new meta-analysis. Of the six classes of oral drugs that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves when people take only one drug for diabetes, metformin ranks first in overall safety and effectiveness.

“We concluded that metformin looks better for cardiovascular mortality than sulfonylureas,” says lead author Nisa Maruthur, MD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. “It has a long-term safety profile. Metformin is weight neutral or helps people lose weight, and its gastrointestinal side effects are avoidable or tolerable. Its effect on A1C is similar to other medications.”

Until now, researchers didn’t have any firm evidence that one class of drugs was best at reducing cardiovascular risk — heart attacks and strokes. If you have uncontrolled blood glucose, this is your the most serious diabetes risk. But the researchers concluded that metformin reduces the relative risk of a patient dying from heart disease by about 30 to 40 percent compared to its closest competitor drug, the sulfonylurea class.

The Annals of Internal Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Physicians, just published the study online ahead of print as “Diabetes Medications as Monotherapy or Metformin-Based Combination Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes.” It is comprehensive meta-analysis of more than 200 studies with more than 1.4 million people with diabetes. Those studies made head-to-head comparisons of the six drug classes: metformin, sulfonylureas, thiazolidinediones, DPP-4 inhibitors, GLP-1 agonists, and SGLT-2 inhibitors.

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Berberine Is a Diabetes Drug in Disguise

May 27th, 2016 · 2 Comments

Berberine might be the best supplement that you can take to reduce your blood glucose. But first you need to consider the disadvantages of any supplement.

Berberine has apparently been an important herbal remedy in Chinese medicine for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Now, it is becoming increasingly well known in the West.

Growing interest in berberine

The U.S. National Library of Medicine indexes about 4,000 studies in professional journals that include berberine. This is far more than the 800 on bitter melon and the 200 on gymnema sylvestre, which quite a few people have told me they use to manage their blood glucose. It’s clear that interest in berberine is growing fast: more than 1,500 of the 4,000 studies were published in the last five years.

But people use berberine for many conditions. Just 243 of these studies are about berberine and diabetes, and 79 of them are human studies (the others are studies of berberine in animals or in test tubes).

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You Can Use Metformin Even with Reduced Kidney Function

May 21st, 2016 · Comments Off

Metformin and 18 brand-name drugs that include it are safe for millions of people with diabetes who have reduced kidney function. This month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a drug safety communication that will let at least 2.5 million more Americans who have this disease use this diabetes drug.

In addition to metformin itself, which is a generic drug, it remains available as Glucophage, the original brand name. Other brands of metformin that the FDA’s decision affects include Actoplus Met, Avandamet, Glucovance, and Janumet.

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The High Cost of Diabetes

April 13th, 2016 · 1 Comment

Diabetes isn’t especially expensive because it causes nothing. But uncontrolled diabetes can be one of the most expensive diseases anybody can get.

The visits you have to make to your doctor, the blood glucose meters that you require to check your level, and the prescription medications that most people with diabetes need are only a small part of the economic costs of diabetes.  But all together, these essential components of diabetes management were just one-third of the estimated direct costs of diagnosed diabetes in 2012, the most recent year for which we have data.

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Start Taking Insulin Now

March 14th, 2016 · 11 Comments

You can avoid the worst consequences of diabetes if you take insulin soon after a doctor tells you that you have the disease, recent studies show. You can even drive your diabetes into remission and preserve the beta cell function of your pancreas that you otherwise could lose. When your beta cells don’t work well, it’s even harder to manage your diabetes.

While everyone who has type 1 diabetes has to take insulin, of course, only one-fourth of people with type 2 diabetes do so far, usually after years of failure on oral diabetes drugs. After you have tried one of them after another, and your blood glucose is still too high, people may have to go on insulin, although usually with reluctance. You still hear people with diabetes telling you with pride, “I don’t have to take insulin.”

Shape Up

Even worse is that some doctors even use it as a threat, saying something like, “If you don’t shape up, I’m going to make you inject insulin.” But by that time most of the beta cells of your pancreas that store and release your own body’s insulin into the bloodstream have also failed.

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How You Can Lose Weight When You Take a Non-insulin Injectable

March 11th, 2016 · 7 Comments

Credit: NDEI.org

You will probably gain weight when you take most diabetes medicines to help you manage your blood glucose level. This in turn makes your diabetes harder to manage. But one relatively new class of diabetes medicine will often help you to lose weight.

Most people who have diabetes need to lose weight. More than 85 percent of adults with diabetes were overweight in the U.S. government’s Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. And 54.8 percent of the adults with diabetes were obese.

The shining exception to this sad story is a relatively new type or class of drugs that helps those of us who have type 2 diabetes to reduce our blood glucose level and at the same time also helps us to lose weight. These drugs have the technical name “glucagon-like peptide receptor agonists.” Because this is a mouthful, we often call them GLP-1 agonists or incretin mimetics.

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Use Insulin as a FIRST Resort

January 10th, 2016 · 12 Comments

You can get the best control over your diabetes by taking insulin until you are ready to go on a very low-carb diet. But if you have type 2 diabetes, you may have always thought that taking insulin was something you used when everything else failed to manage your blood glucose level.

insulin

“If you don’t shape up, I’m going to make you inject insulin,” is a threat we may hear from our doctors. How about turning the table on your doctor and ask for it yourself?

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Victoza Can Reverse Fatty Liver Disease

January 9th, 2016 · 12 Comments

The diabetes drug called liraglutide, marketed as Victoza, can reverse a common and serious complication of diabetes, according to a new study. This is good news for anyone who is already taking it or Byetta or Bydureon to manage blood glucose.

victoza

This complication goes by the mouthful of a name “non-alcoholic steatohepatitis,” or NASH, which is inflammation of the liver, which a buildup of fat in the liver causes. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, which half to 70 percent of all people with type 2 diabetes have, can lead to NASH.

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Stop Taking Calcium Pills

December 6th, 2015 · 27 Comments

Stop taking calcium even if you have diabetes: It doesn’t work and it has side effects, including heart attacks. This is the blunt message of recent studies of this mineral.

Our doctors have been telling us for years that we need 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. They were wrong, they now admit.

calcium foods

Because of this bad advice more than 60 percent of American women aged 60 or more were taking calcium supplements a few years ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Nevertheless, some researchers wanted us to take even more calcium: “Americans are not meeting current calcium recommendations,” according to a 2007 article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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