Common Diabetes Drugs May Carry Risk, Study Suggests

Type 2 Diabetes: Learn the Warning Sign

I am reproducing here with the latest news for information and awareness of diabetics.

THURSDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes patients who take drugs called sulfonylureas as an initial therapy have a higher risk of death than those who take the diabetes drug metformin, a new study says.

The British researchers said the findings suggest that it may no longer be appropriate to offer sulfonylureas as a first-line treatment.

Diabetes experts in the United States agreed that the study could have an impact on care.

The findings "will change the practice of glucose [blood sugar]-lowering therapy," said Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

But he added that "more study is need to confirm this data," and use of the alternative drug, metformin, is not always the answer. "Metformin and other oral hypoglycemic agents have their drawbacks, and probably we will see earlier use of insulin in type 2 diabetics," Mezitis said.

Both metformin (brand names include Glucophage and Fortamet) and sulfonylureas (glyburide and glipizide) are commonly prescribed as first-line therapies for patients and have been available since the 1950s.

The new study was funded by drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb, which makes Glucophage.

Researchers analyzed data from thousands of people in the United Kingdom who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and began first-line blood sugar-lowering treatments between 2000 and 2012 and were followed for an average of three years.

Patients who took sulfonylureas only were 58 percent more likely to die from any cause than those who took metformin only, according to the study, which was presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Barcelona, Spain.

The findings suggest "that treatment with first-line monotherapy [one-drug only] with sulfonylureas should be reconsidered," wrote a team led by Dr. Craig Currie of Cardiff University.

Another U.S. expert said sulfonylureas and metformin fight diabetes in different ways. Sulfonylureas work "by increasing insulin release from the beta cells in the pancreas," while metformin "acts by suppressing glucose production by the liver," explained Dr. Patricia Vuguin, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

Findings presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCES: Spyros Mezitis, M.D., endocrinologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Patricia Vuguin, M.D., pediatric endocrinologist, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, New Hyde Park, NY; European Association for the Study of Diabetes, news release, Sept. 25, 2013

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12 Replies

  • I was regular on Metformin 500mg for 15 years and

    then Metformin & Glynase. Then for 5 more years depended on Glynase alone couple of times a day and the to GlynaseMF. The Doctor then used to tell me that it is wiser to move to Insulin. Then onwards I am depending on insulin alone. Now I follow as to why the doctor prefered Insulin. At present after being regular on this site, I am trying to reduce the dose of insulin with regular exercise and diet restrictions. Thanks for 'HealthUnlocked'.

  • Mr George

    what are your readings of hbA1c count?this only will confirm your claim

  • Hi Dear ragivrao,

    The fifth & sixth links above are to the table & graph of my FBS, PPBS & HbA1c values. Those HbA1c #s are pasted here for you:

    24-01-09---- 6.3

    22-04-09---- 6.1

    25-07-09---- 5.9

    07-10-09---- 6.1

    27-01-10---- 6.0

    28-04-10---- 6.2

    31-07-10---- 6.2

    07-12-10---- 5.9

    25-03-11---- 6.1

    12-07-11---- 6.2

    14-10-11---- 6.3

    13-01-12---- 5.9

    09-11-12---- 5.9

    02-01-13---- 5.9

    22-02-13---- 5.9

    17-04-13---- 5.9

    07-08-13---- 5.6

    Many people, when all arguments/excuses fail, have told that "you would not have been diabetic, in that case; otherwise how can this happen". Will you also repeat that?

  • What r ur sugar levels pl?

  • hi jumpingjack,

    Thank you for the question. You should have opened a new compose window clicking the YELLOW 'REPLY TO THIS' button below MY REPLY if you wanted me to get an alert message & you to get a reply from me. Then your response will appear in a smaller window like this, not larger one as you got last time above this.

    Today, 12 days after your posting, I saw this by chance while looking for something else. The problem is that you would have thought that I am avoiding your question because I am not having those results.

    I am regularly reproducing those in my Appropedia article. Some of those are reproduced at also. There are blood sugar values from 2006 onwards. I shall give you the links to those; please click those links & read.

    The latest value reported there is of 04.09.2013 .. PPBS after supper 117 with GlucoMeter; on that day I had full-veg-feast-lunch-with-four-rounds-of rice-and-FOUR-desserts-and-a-fruit.

    The links are MY POST 1: Diabetes cured AND B S test results numerical representation B S test results graphical representation

  • what are the chances that Metformin may cause pancreatic attack?

  • arunatshi

    I only reproduced the latest news on drugs .I do not wish to speculate on a research report. I believe in its authenticity

  • use of metaformin on mice has increased their life by 7% says some other reports

  • damayanti

    It may be useful if you can reproduce the report for knowledge sake

  • As I have mentioened in my previous post I hd been using Metfofmin 500mg twice a day for 15 years and then added glynase to it.

    Anyway not at present after on insulin. My sugar level varied from 110 on fasting to 280 couple of hours later. When the fasting sugar was 120 the later reading came to 180. Anyuthing higher was at once rectified. Last week when I was under strict diet and morning walks it came down to 77 and 66. Now I carry some fried Kidney beans in the dash of my car to be taken couple of hours after breakfast. From today night I have reduced the Insulin dose to 22units and I will be going for 15 by morning . Let me wait for a week and check up the Glucose status.

  • Prescribed Metmorphin and gliperimide(glyciphage G 1.Cretinin 1.5 not to take Metformin,,only glyprimid but no cont.Europa.Advised to take Ins (Novomix 30) and Trajenta 5.Controlled but fluctuates

  • GNJanbaz

    not clear what you wanted to say.Can you amplify your message?

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