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Diabetes type 2 medication is a burden in some patients

Diabetes type 2 medication is a burden in some patients

Insulin and other medication that are used to control glucose levels in diabetes type 2, cause a lot of side effects, especially in patients over age 50. Those were the results of a study published yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine. According to the scientists the positive effects do not always outweigh the negative side effects. The study says a revision of the therapy guidelines could result in a higher quality of life in many patients.

The purpose of the currently used medication is to control blood glucose levels in diabetes type 2, and prevent complications to the kidneys, eyes and heart. The scientists say it’s of great concern that therapy intensity is balanced with the experienced burdens of the treatment. Many patients experience symptoms due to low glucose levels, gain weight or find the frequent insulin shots disruptive.

The quality of life was monitored in a big group of diabetes type 2 patients. The study challenges the current treatment guideline ‘treat-to-target’. The scientists plead for a treatment guideline that aims at improving the quality of life of the patient rather than targeting a specific blood glucose level.

The positive effects of medication decrease when age progresses. At the age of 75 the positive effects are negligible compared to the negative effects. Also, in patients who not have an extremely elevated blood glucose level, often medication is still prescribed. This method of treatment has little benefits for the patients, and causes unnecessary costs in healthcare.

In the publication it is argued that treatment plans for diabetes patients should be made individually. According to the authors, weighing the estimated risks on complication, taking the age and the blood glucose level into account, versus the side effects and burdens of the therapy, should be a better approach.

Source: JAMA Internal Medizine.

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