Healthier diabetics may fare better with less aggressive approach to disease management

diabetes illus250x03 Healthier diabetics may fare better with less aggressive approach to disease managementType 2 diabetes drugs could be doing patients more harm than good, especially older diabetics, a new study shows.

The research, published in a recent edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, addressed how current guidelines for diabetes management were serving patients.

Currently, diabetes management involves intensifying treatment until the patient’s blood sugar level has evened out. Researchers say this method appears to cause more negative impacts to patients than positive ones.

“For people with type 2 diabetes, the goal of managing blood sugar levels is to prevent associated diabetes complications, such as kidney, eye and heart disease, but it is essential to balance complication risks and treatment burdens when deciding how aggressively to treat blood sugars,” said lead author Sandeep Vijan M.D., M.S., professor of Internal Medicine at the U-M Medical School and research scientist at the Center for Clinical Management Research at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Once a patient has achieved moderate levels of glucose control, there is little benefit to continued intensive blood sugar treatments. Also, as a person ages, the positive effects of the drugs tend to decrease. If a patient at low risk of complications is experiencing adverse reactions to medications – such as weight gain, low blood sugar, or other side effects; or finds daily shots disruptive to daily life, then doctors – and patients – may fare better to focus on quality of life.

Diabetes medications can also carry serious side effects, including cancer risks. For example, Actos has been linked to bladder cancer, and Januvia and Byetta have been associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

Patients are advised to discuss the risks of diabetes drugs with their doctors for a more personalized and effective diabetes management program.

Source: Headlines & Global News