Which T2 Diabetes Drugs Are Popular in the U.S.?

Better living through chemistry

You may be able to avoid some of these through diet and exercise

Diabetes Care recently published results of a survey covering 1997 to 2012. The focus was on T2 diabetics age 35 or older:

“Between 1997 and 2012 biguanide [metformin] use increased, from 23% … to 53% … of treatment visits. Glitazone use grew from 6% in 1997 to 41% of all visits in 2005, but declined to 16% by 2012. Since 2005, DPP-4 inhibitor [e.g., Januvia] use increased steadily, representing 21% of treatment visits by 2012. GLP-1 agonists [e.g., Byetta] accounted for 4% of treatment visits in 2012. Visits where two or more drug compounds were used increased nearly 40% from 1997 to 2012. Between 2008 and 2012, drug expenditures increased 61%, driven primarily by use of insulin glargine [e.g., Lantus] and DPP-4 inhibitors.”

We have 12 classes of drugs for the treatment of T2 diabetes now. It’s not entirely clear which ones are the best. Since the long-term side effects of many drugs are unknown, if I had T2 diabetes I’d try to limit my need for drugs by restricting my carbohydrate consumption, maintaining a reasonable weigh, and exercising. And, no, they don’t always work.

Steve Parker, M.D.

2 responses to “Which T2 Diabetes Drugs Are Popular in the U.S.?

  1. I was put on 2000 mg of metformin 500 ER and even though I was eating less than 50 g carbs, it wasn’t until I reduced my carbs to practically zero to 20 that I was able to get my blood sugar down to below 100.

    • Hey, Kim.
      That low carb intake level would be hard to sustain long-term for many folks. Loss of excess weight (and I’m not saying you have any!) and regular exercise may allow a higher carb intake or less metformin.