Not Again! More Diabetes Drug Dangers...

Two more studies published in the prominent medical journal JAMA have raised questions about the safety of both Avandia and Actos, two popular diabetes medications.

Earlier this year, a combined analysis of more than 40 studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that Avandia, made by GlaxoSmithKline, doubled the risks of heart failure and raised the risks of heart attack by 42 percent.

This finding was corroborated by yet another combined analysis by researchers from Wake Forest University. This time they limited the analysis to four long-term studies. Their findings were almost identical, and Dr. Sonal Singh, co-author of the study, said the FDA should consider withdrawing Avandia from the market.

“If you use Avandia to treat patients with type 2 diabetes,” said Singh, “their chance of getting heart failure due to Avandia is one in 30, and their risk of having a heart attack is one in 220. All due to the drug.”

Additionally, a second study by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, found that Actos, a similar drug made by Takeda, actually lowered the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and death by about 20 percent but, like Avandia, also raised the risks of heart failure.

Journal of the American Medical Association September 12, 2007;298(10):1189-95

New England Journal of Medicine June 14, 2007; 356:2457-2471 (Free Full-Text Study)

New York Times September 12, 2007           


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Avandia is a drug that supposedly helps sensitize your body to insulin. When it first came on the market, it was considered a breakthrough medication for blood-sugar control. More than 6 million people have taken the drug in the eight years it has been available.

Mark my word, it is only a matter of time before this drug is pulled from the market. It is shocking that it has yet to be pulled.

However, what is even more shocking is the profound ignorance that exists in the medical community about diabetes. Most conventional physicians are well intentioned, but absolutely unaware of how to easy it is to reverse this disease.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the easiest diseases to treat, yet we have a pandemic in the US with one of every three people having either outright diabetes or pre-diabetes. As I write this, I learned one hour ago that my dear aunt just died from complications of diabetes

I simply could never convince her to commit to the type of exercise program she would need to control her illness. I have another aunt that died from diabetes, and my Dad still struggles with it. Fortunately, my father makes excellent food choices daily, so his diabetes is very well controlled. He may even outlive all of his (younger) siblings, as he exercises about two hours every day, at 79 years old.

I am certain he would have lost the diabetes battle years ago, if it wasn’t for his exercise program. It really is great to have parents that are willing to adopt suggestions from their children. I realize this is unusual, and I am grateful that both my parents apply the knowledge I share with them.

Some doctors and patients are finally getting wise to the dangers of this drug, with sales of Avandia plunging. After years of warning cries from consumer groups about the heart problems caused by Avandia, as well as its possible connection to liver failure, the message may finally be getting through.

In June, the FDA decided to place its strictest “black box” warning label on both Avandia and Actos, but did not go all the way in protecting your health, as a federal advisory panel voted to keep it on the market, despite its risks.

Although the Vioxx debacle is still fresh in the minds of many folks, GlaxoSmithKline is disputing these latest results, just as they did after the first study came out in The New England Journal of Medicine. This is amazing, as their own internal review uncovered a 30 percent climb in the incidence of heart attacks, according to a report submitted to the FDA last year.

Why You NEVER Need These Drugs

Now, why would you choose drugs as the solution for a disease that is virtually 100 percent curable with SIMPLE lifestyle changes?

Eliminating type 2 diabetes, the type that affects over 95 percent of diabetics, is not rocket science. However, if you are a diabetic, and don’t fully understand the underlying causes of your disease and how it works, you are putting yourself at greater risk of developing cardiovascular complications. (Unfortunately, a vast majority of doctors are also misinformed, thereby giving out misleading information about proper self-management.)

Conventional medicine still insists on treating diabetes as a disease of blood sugar. Why? Because that’s how they can treat it with drugs. However, type 2 diabetes is not merely a disease of elevated blood sugar. It’s a disease of insulin and leptin (a hormone) signaling. These are deeper roots that CAN be treated and corrected—through diet and exercise.

One in three Americans has either pre-diabetes or diabetes. And yet diabetes can easily be controlled or reversed by:

Most diabetic diets focus on the amounts and types of carbohydrates and fats to be consumed. Unfortunately, the type and amount of protein in the diet has largely been ignored.

It’s true that almost all diabetics should swap out their grain-carbs for other foods, but some people will do well substituting with protein, whereas others are better off eating more vegetable-only carbs.

The simplicity of these lifestyle changes is why I find it so appalling that physicians foolishly advise people to take these absolutely unnecessary drugs. They are abrogating their responsibility as teachers, coaches, and mentors to their patients.

The Bottom Line?

Understand that oral drugs for type 2 diabetes are completely unnecessary if you're willing to make some simple lifestyle changes. If you are currently taking these drugs, please protect your health; find a knowledgeable physician who can help you wean yourself off them.

Pay attention folks. Diabetes takes NO prisoners. It is one SERIOUS disease. Do not take it lightly. Optimize your insulin and leptin levels and you will not only be diabetes free, but you will radically slow down the aging process.

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