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Metformin Top Oral Antidiabetes Medicines

An oral medication for type 2 diabetes that has been in use for more than a decade was found to have distinct advantages compared to nine other, much-newer medications used to control the chronic disease, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Institute.

Results of the study, published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal, showed that the drug metformin, first approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 1995, did not only control blood sugar levels, but also lowered bad cholesterol levels in the blood, with less weight gain. Researchers agree that these health benefits may protect type 2 diabetics against heart diseases and other complications brought about by the disease.

According to Shari Bolen, MD, lead author of the study and an instructor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, newer drugs doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better. “Issues like blood sugar levels, weight gain and cost could be significant factors to many patients struggling to stay in good health,” says Bolen.

Bolen and her team reviewed scientific evidence from 216 previous studies and compared each drug for its clinical effectiveness, risks and costs. The study, which is believed to be the largest drug comparison of its kind, showed that all of the commonly used oral medications work in much the same way in terms of lowering and controlling blood sugar levels, and all were equally safe.

‘When you are dealing with an epidemic like diabetes, it is important for people to weigh their treatment options with their physician and to make informed decisions about which medication best suits their needs,” said Bolen. Researchers say further studies are needed to compare the long-term effectiveness of one oral medication to another, as well as the drugs’ effects on quality of life and life expectancy. More researches are likewise needed to compare the findings of the said study with results for injectable for diabetes, including insulin.

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