New Medicines, Better Science Improve Diabetes Management

New Medicines, Better Science Improve Diabetes Management

DO YOU FEEL like every time you see your healthcare provider you are given a new medicine? Do you wonder why your diabetes medicines are always changing?

Maybe you have friends or family members who are taking diabetes medicines you’ve never heard of.

If any of these this is the case for you, here’s the answer: It’s science.

Better Science Leads To Better Medicines

If you think that there are always new medicines popping up—for diabetes, as well as other conditions — you’re right.

In the last 15 years, many new things have been learned about type 2 diabetes. Scientists take this new knowledge and turn it into new medicines.

What Are Some New Diabetes Medicines?

Experts now think that some of the newest medicines for diabetes are the best yet.

One of the reasons these medicines are so popular is that they have fewer side effects than some of the older ones.

You might know that some older medicines could cause weight gain. However, some of the newer medicines actually can lead to weight loss. But because these medicines are so new, less is known about how safe they are when used long-term. If you take these medicines and have any questions about them, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Does That Mean Older Diabetes Medicines Don’t Work as Well?

Not at all.

In fact, the use of Metformin, one of the oldest medicines used to treat type 2 diabetes, is actually rising.

On the other hand, some older medicines are not used as often as they used to be. Healthcare providers
are not giving Actos to as many patients because of concerns that it could cause problems with the heart or
bladder.

Medicines like glyburide and glipizide are not used as much today because they can cause weight gain and low blood glucose.

What About Insulin?

Overall, use of insulin by people with type 2 diabetes hasn’t changed much in the last 15 years.

What has changed is the type of insulin people are taking.

The use of long-acting insulins, like Lantus and Levemir, has increased a great deal. The short-acting insulins, like Humalog and NovoLog, are also being used more today. There hasn’t been much change in the use of regular insulin.

What Should You Do With your Medicines?

The most important thing to remember is this: Not every medicine works for every person.

Metformin might be a good choice for your brother or sister, but that doesn’t mean it will work well for you. The same goes for other diabetes medicines, including insulin.

And remember, sometimes you might have more side effects from a medicine than someone else does, and this can help your healthcare provider decide what medicines you should take.

If you have questions about any of the medicines you take, even if they aren’t for diabetes, you should talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

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By Linda Bernstein, pharmD

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