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.