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

Entries Tagged as 'Diabetes Medication'

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.

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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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Posted in: Diabetes Medication

NPH Insulin Works Well — If You Mix It Enough

October 25th, 2015 · 1 Comment

The variability from day to day might alarm you if you manage your diabetes with one of the intermediate acting insulins. The problem could be that you aren’t mixing it well enough.

The type of insulin that we call NPH can take one to three hours to start working. But it lasts for 12 to 16 hours.

Its generic name is NPH; Novo Nordisk sells it as Novolin N and Lilly as Humulin N. NPH is also available premixed with short acting insulin.

insulin-syringe

But NPH insulin is itself a mixture, and that’s the problem. Its cloudy part is rich in insulin crystals while its clear part isn’t. Before you inject it, you have to mix these parts.

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Posted in: Diabetes Medication

Deprescribing Diabetes Drugs

October 11th, 2015 · 14 Comments

Do you wonder why your doctor keeps telling you to take more and more drugs to manage your diabetes? Many people with diabetes take three or even more prescriptions for it every day.

A new article in the BMJ, which is the journal of the British Medical Association, reviewed the case of a British man who has had diabetes for 14 years and wondered if his stomach upset problems might be from the drugs he was taking for diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. He “asked if he could cut down on any if they weren’t all needed,” but didn’t want to jeopardize his diabetes control.

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In the article by Doctors David Unwin and Simon Tobin, “A patient request for some ‘deprescribing’” they reported what happened next. They felt that “none of his drugs is essential — they have all been prescribed to reduce his risk of cardiovascular events and the complications of diabetes, not to treat an actual disease.” They appreciated that a better diet and more exercise were alternatives to the drugs.

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Posted in: Diabetes Medication

Watch Out for Dangerous Drug Interactions

September 29th, 2015 · Comments Off

Do you take drugs? I’m asking mainly about the prescriptions that your doctor prescribed. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg for some of us.

It’s easy to forget to consider some of the drugs that you take. Of course you included your prescriptions, but did you remember to include those that you buy over the counter? Also, some people don’t realize that herbal supplements are drugs. When you include these sources, it’s not uncommon for some people with diabetes to be taking three or even more drugs for their condition.

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Drugs in any of these categories have side effects, some of which nobody discovers until many people start taking them. For example, half a million people were taking the prescription diabetes drug Rezulin 15 years ago when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned it after at least 63 of us died from the liver failure that it caused.

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Posted in: Diabetes Medication

Why Insulin Costs So Much

July 19th, 2015 · 25 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.

insulin costs history

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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Posted in: Diabetes Medication

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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Posted in: Diabetes Medication

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 · Comments Off

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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Posted in: Diabetes Medication

Negotiate for Your Diabetes Drugs

September 29th, 2014 · Comments Off

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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Posted in: Diabetes Medication

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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Posted in: Diabetes Medication

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