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No Diabetes Drugs Seen to Prolong Life Expectancy

Update Date: Jul 21, 2016 10:43 AM EDT
Three subtypes of type 2 diabetes, or adult onset diabetes have been identified.
All five once-a-week diabetes drugs lowered blood sugar levels and risks factors for cardiovascular disease. (Photo : Piotr Adamowicz/Shutterstock)

Researchers from the New Zealand's University of Otago Christchurch have found that not a single diabetes drugs can prolong life expectancy of the patients or prevent any cardiovascular diseases.

The findings published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association is based on over 300 clinical trials participated by approximately 120,000 patients, undergoing 1.4 million patient-months of treatment.

The study used as reference the clinical trials include 177 diabetes drugs given as monotherapy to 57,000 patients; 109 dual therapy for 53,000 patients and 29 triple therapy for 10,500 patients. Dual therapy consists of any other diabetes drugs added to metformin, while triple therapy comprises of sulfonylurea, metformin, and additional diabetes drug, Techtimes reported.

"Based on this review, clinicians, and patients may prefer to avoid sulfonylureas or basal insulin for patients who wish to minimize hypoglycemia, choose GLP-1 receptor agonists when weight management is a priority, or consider SGLT-2 inhibitors based on their favorable combined safety and efficacy profile," the diabetes specialists wrote in the study.

With no diabetes drugs outperforming any other, researchers recommended that patients with type 2 diabetes try the older, cheaper drug called metformin (Glumetza Glucophage).

Diabetes specialist from Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Kevin Pantalone said that experts agree on metformin as the first-line agent to treat patients, warning that patients may suffer from upset stomach and diarrhea when taking it.

Records from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that an estimated 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, mostly type 2.

Patients with type 2 diabetes may experience high sugar levels which, over time can cause more complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and damage to one’s nerve. CDC noted that this type of diabetes is often associated to obesity.

Specialists recommended that “lifestyle modification, through diet changes and regular exercise,” remains to be an important component of the patient’s treatment regimen.

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