Newer More Costly Diabetic Medications Are No Safer or More Effective Than Older Less Expensive Medications

By | March 23, 2011

In a recent review evaluating 166 published articles comparing different diabetes medications, Center member Dr. Shari Bolen and colleagues at Johns Hopkins summarized evidence that support the continued use of metformin as first line therapy for people with type 2 diabetes [read paper]. Metformin also decreased weight and LDL or ÒbadÓ cholesterol when compared with sulfonylureas andthiazolidinediones. Side effects differed by medication. Metformin and sulfonylureas can be obtained free or for 4 dollars a month at some pharmacies while the newer medications can cost up to several hundred dollars a month. The authors recommend using the older medications such as sulfonylureas and metformin to treat people with type 2 diabetes where possible. The work was supported by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and received local coverage both on WCPN and Fox channel 8. (posted 3/2011)Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Dr. Shari Bolen, WCPN, read paper, Fox channel 8