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Old classes of diabetes drugs are just as effective as newer ones

Category: Diabetes

For individuals who have received positive HbA1c tests for diabetes, newer medications may not always be the answer. A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that older, less expensive drugs may offer equally as good blood sugar control with less risk of potentially dangerous side effects.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University compared Metformin, a medication originally approved by the FDA, to new diabetes drugs that were approved within the last few years. Many of these newer medications have come with much anticipation and hype, as some experts said they would greatly improve diabetes care.

However, the researchers found that this is not the case. After review the results of 166 previously published studies on both metformin and newer classes of drugs, the investigators noted that metormin offers equally as effective control of blood sugar. Furthermore, it is less likely to result in increases in cholesterol and body weight, which can multiply the chances of developing heart disease.

"Diabetes is an enormous public health problem, and patients have difficult decisions to make about what medications they should be taking," said Wendy Bennett, who led the investigation. "Our study provides good information comparing drugs and can be used to inform those decisions."

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