Diabetes Drugs: More Risky Than You Think
Learn about the dangers associated with medications that lower blood sugar
Although diabetes medications may be effective at lowering blood sugar, most are no more than a Band-Aid therapy for type 2 diabetes. They lower glucose levels but do nothing to address the underlying condition. Plus, they have serious side effects.
Diabetes Drugs Are Dangerous
If you haven’t heard about the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) study, let me tell you about it—because it sums up nicely just how dangerous many blood sugar–lowering diabetes medications are.
This large, government-funded trial was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of various medication regimens for reducing heart attacks, strokes, and death from heart disease in patients with type 2 diabetes. One arm of the study was specifically set up to test the widely held assumption that more aggressive lowering of blood sugar would provide greater protection against heart disease.
However, in February 2008, that arm of ACCORD was abruptly shut down because it found just the opposite was true. Study participants who were on the most intensive drug regimens aimed at driving down blood sugar had a much higher cardiovascular death rate.
We’ve Known This for More Than 40 Years
The news about ACCORD was not surprising, considering researchers have known about the fatal complications of diabetes drugs since 1969—when results of the University Group Diabetes Program were made public. Just like ACCORD, this study had to be stopped two years early because participants who were taking the drugs had a 250 to 300 percent higher death rate than those taking the placebo.
Here are some facts about specific drugs:
- Phenformin/metformin (Glucophage). One of the two drugs used in the 1969 study, DBI (phenformin), was shown to be so deadly that it was taken off the market. Yet this drug’s close cousin, metformin (Glucophage) is the most popular diabetes medication used today and was the most frequently used drug in the ACCORD study.
- Sulfonylureas. The other drug used in the 1969 study, Orinase (tolbutamide), was ultimately tattooed with a black-box warning stating that it dramatically increases death from heart attack. Orinase belongs to a class of drugs known as sulfonylureas, which includes dozens of popular medications that are still in use today, and the same black-box warning has appeared on all sulfonylureas since 1984.
- Thiazolinediones (glitazones). Another class of diabetes drugs, and the second-most widely used type of medication by ACCORD participants, is thiazolidinediones (also called glitazones), the most notorious of which is Avandia. Government experts estimate that Avandia may have caused as many as 100,000 heart attacks since coming onto the market in 1999.
I’d Rather Have No Treatment Than Drug Treatment
The pharmaceutical industry shoulders much of the responsibility for why these drugs are still on the market. These companies currently control the bulk of medical research, treatment guidelines, and physician “education.”
In my opinion, you’d be better off with no diabetes treatment program at all than with these drugs. Taking medication that lowers your blood sugar may make you think you’re doing better, but these pills are actually making you worse. That’s why I strongly recommend a more natural approach to diabetes treatment.
Note: If you are currently taking an oral hypoglycemic drug, don’t stop taking it cold turkey. You must work with your doctor to gradually discontinue the medication.
More Dr. Whitaker Advice on Diabetes
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Meet Dr. Whitaker
For more than 30 years, Dr. Julian Whitaker has helped people regain their health with a combination of therapeutic lifestyle changes, targeted nutritional support, and other cutting-edge natural therapies. He is widely known for treating diabetes, but also routinely treats heart disease and other degenerative diseases. More About Dr. Whitaker
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