Study Shows Less Expensive Diabetes Drug As Effective As Avandia - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/17/07-Tyler

Study Shows Less Expensive Diabetes Drug As Effective As Avandia

A new study just out compares diabetes drugs that have been out for years to those supposedly on the cutting edge of medicine.

Many diabetes patients have been taking the more expensive, and newer drug Avandia.  But after another study linked it with heart problems, patients looking at older medications have some good news.  

Avandia, one of the newest drugs, costs hundreds more a month than older drugs. like Glucophage.

The good news from a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine is that Glucophage, the older drug, appears just as effective.

"Glucophage has been out for about 10 years now, and it's generic now which has helped the cost a bit.  It's actually one of my first line drugs," says Trinity Mother Frances endocrinologist Dr. Meg Reitmeyer.

She says expensive isn't necessarily better.

The study confirms Glucophage doesn't cause weight gain, doesn't cause blood sugar to plummet, and can lower bad cholesterol.  The study says it is just as effective at treating diabetes.

Meanwhile, another study shows the newer Avandia might cause heart problems in some.

For millions, the cost of their drugs is the biggest concern.

"Just for medication, with co-pay, it's $500 plus a month, with co-pay. That's just for my medication," says patient Cheryle McMiller.

Dr. Reitmeyer says, "People should not stop their drugs. People should have one-on-one discussions with their doctors, and they need to be honest about what they can and cannot afford."  

One side effect of Glucophage, Reitmeyer says, is stomach upset.  It can be bad enough to prevent some patients from using it.

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in East Texas and the nation. In the U.S., more than 18 million people are diagnosed.  Millions more could be undiagnosed.

One of the main risk factors for diabetes is obesity.

Morgan Palmer, reporting.

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