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Some patients may not need insulin for long-term control of type 2 diabetes
Date:6/15/2008

Some patients with type 2 diabetes can control their disease for years yet avoid insulin injections by using multiple classes of oral diabetic medications, a new study found. The results were presented Sunday, June 15, at The Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Findings from the study contradict common beliefs about non-insulin diabetic medications, said principal investigator Arthur Swislocki, MD, of the Veterans Affairs (VA) Northern California Health Care System in Martinez. Oral diabetes medications help control blood glucose, or sugar, levels in people whose bodies still produce some insulin, as is true for many patients with type 2 diabetes.

"Generally, both patients and physicians believe that long-term use of oral diabetic medications is not possible because these drugs lose their effectiveness over time as the patient's pancreas fails," Swislocki said. "Our data suggest that some patients can remain in good glucose control for years using non-insulin, oral diabetic agents."

The study result is good news for people who need medical therapy for type 2 diabetes, according to Swislocki. "They may be able to delay or avoid the use of insulin," he said.

Some patients prefer pills over insulin injections because they are easier to use or because the patient fears needles or getting low blood sugar, as is possible with insulin treatment, he said.

Swislocki and his coworkers studied the VA medical records of 191 veterans (188 men and 3 women) with type 2 diabetes who received treatment beginning in 1992 and received follow-up for 15 consecutive years. Of these patients, 96 began treatment solely with oral drugs. The researchers found that 55 percent of the patients (53 of 96) who started treatment with oral diabetic agents were able to continue using them 15 years later and achieve good blood sugar control. A measure of long-term blood sugar controlhemoglobin A1cimproved from an average of nea
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Contact: Aaron Lohr
alohr@endo-society.org
240-482-1380
The Endocrine Society
Source:Eurekalert

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