Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Side Effects

 A while back, I got a comment on here asking if I'd accept guest posts. I said yes, if the guest post was relevant. This is the article written for this blog from drugwatch.com, a website that focuses on the risks in medications, and especially those that have been recalled. Although us type 1s do not really have much choice about taking insulin, I sometimes think we can use the reminder that it's not always a good idea to take other medications, or to advocate the use of medications in type 2 diabetes, even when it lowers blood sugar- there are worse things than high blood sugar. Anyways, here's the article. Please leave a comment if there's something you think somebody who is calling attention to the downsides of medications should know about diabetes.

The Benefits and Risks of Diabetes Medications

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have similarities and differences when it comes to their medications. People with type 1 diabetes rely mostly on insulin injections, and people with type 2 diabetes are usually prescribed oral medication to help manage the insulin their bodies still produce.
Type 2 patients may require insulin at some point, as well. And people with type 1 diabetes might use an oral medication like an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor to slow the flow of sugar into the bloodstream after a meal.
No matter which medication they take, people with diabetes must be familiar with the drug and possible side effects.
Many diabetes drugs are effective at controlling blood sugar. But they may be too effective, causing hypoglycemia. Both type 1 and type 2 patients need to be on the lookout for low blood sugar. Symptoms include:
* Hunger
* Shaking or trembling
* Blurry vision
* Rapid heartbeat
* Tiredness
* Nervousness
* Headache
* Sweating
* Tingling
If left untreated, hypoglycemia can lead to fainting, seizure or coma. When blood sugar drops, the best thing to do is to eat a piece of candy or drink some regular soda.
Many patients require insulin, which is one of the most powerful reducers of blood sugar. But when it is used in higher amounts than it should be, it can lead to hypoglycemia.
If a person fails to take enough insulin, however, their blood sugar levels can rise dangerously high — a condition known as hyperglycemia. Symptoms include: thirst, tiredness, frequent urination and an upset stomach. It is often treated by exercising, but a doctor would know the best treatment.
Actos is one of the most popular type 2 diabetes medications, and can lower long-term blood sugar (measured by glycated hemoglobin) by about 1.5 percent. It does this by making the cells more receptive to insulin.
Unfortunately, Actos (pioglitazone) also has been linked to serious side effects, including congestive heart failure, bladder cancer and liver disease which has led some patients to begin to file lawsuits. It has carried a black-box warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2007.
The positives and negatives of diabetes medications aren't always clear cut. It's important for people with diabetes to look at medical studies about diabetes drugs before they begin taking them. Look on FDA.gov to find a drug's warning labels to fully understand its risks.

William Richards researches and writes about prescription drugs and medical devices for

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