‘Insulin side effects outweigh benefits for type 2 diabetes patients’

3 July 2014

For those with type 2 diabetes, the gains made by taking insulin are so inconsequential that they are outweighed by the minor hassles and risks associated with it, suggests new research from the University of Michigan Health System, the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, and University College London.

Dr Sandeep Vijan, lead author of the study, said: "For people with type 2 diabetes, the goal of managing blood sugar levels is to prevent associated diabetes complications, such as kidney, eye and heart disease, but it is essential to balance complication risks and treatment burdens when deciding how aggressively to treat blood sugars.”

He added that patients experiencing symptoms from low blood sugar, gaining weight or frequent insulin shots could be disruptive to daily life, meaning the drugs could be doing more harm than good.

Once moderate levels of glucose control are achieved, Dr Vijan believes there is little benefit from intensive blood sugar treatment. In addition, the cost, burdens and risk increase with this line of therapy.

The results of the study also suggest that the benefits of treatment decline with age and by 75 the harm most medicines can cause are likely to outweigh the benefits. 

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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