Diabetes tests should be offered to the over-40s in places like libraries and job centres across England, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recently said.
According to NICE, identifying people at high risk means they could be offered care and advice. This is in light of the fact that about three million people in the UK have diabetes, with about 90 per cent of them having type 2 diabetes. Making tests readily available means that the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can be caught early and be treated much more effectively…
Personally, I think this is a great idea… but only if it is combined with the right dietary and lifestyle advice given to the general public to help prevent type 2 diabetes from developing in the first place… You know what they say: Prevention is better than cure…
That certainly is true when you look at two commonly used type 2 diabetes drugs. Okay, one of them, Avandia, has been banned in the UK and European Union. Recently, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), also received a hefty $3 billion fine in the US after it was discovered they tried to hide evidence that the drug might be less safe than its competitor Actos… it was also discovered that stroke and heart failure risk were significantly higher with Avandia use, compared to Actos.
Actos, on the other hand is still being widely used… and you might think that, considering Avandia’s bad track record, Actos is a safer option…
That couldn’t be further from the truth, because if you area type 2 diabetic, you might still be drawing the short endof the stick with Actos.
Twisted sisters or toxic twins?
See, while medical authorities focused on everything that is bad about Avandia, Takeda Pharmaceuticals (the maker of Actos), were having a field day: Less risk of heart attack than Avandia and less risk of stroke! They were going to make a mint!
However, around the same time, this small little Actos detail slipped through the cracks: Animal trials linked Actos to an increased bladder cancer risk. One year later, the risk was confirmed in humans.
With this news, France suspended the drug’s use. And suddenly, Actos was looking as bad as Avandia.
Nobody should have been surprised. Avandia and Actos are in the same class of drugs. So Avandia fears are Actos fears as well. In fact, both drugs raise the risk of fractures, weight gain, fluid retention and heart failure.
That’s right. Heart failure!
In an American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel discussion last year, panellists were asked if Avandia was deadlier than Actos. Seven said yes. But 12 members said that Avandia was just as deadly as Actos.
A few weeks ago, the British Medical Journal published a devastating new study. Researchers found that long-term Actos use may increase bladder cancer risk by more than 80%! And long-term is the way these drugs are designed to be used.
Last year the FDA voted to restrict Avandia’s use. The same fate is probably on the cards for Actos… and hopefully a ban is imminent in the UK and EU… I mean, come on, what’s good for one of the toxic twins should be equally as good for the other.
So, when you go to the library to see if you have type 2 diabetes, keep this in the back of your mind. If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, do everything you can to get it under control… but for heaven’s sake, don’t take Actos!
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“Actos Bladder Cancer Risk Identified as Lawsuits Mount” PRWeb, 6/15/12, prweb.com
“France suspends Takeda diabetes drugs use” Reuters, 6/9/11, reuters.com
“Kick ‘Em When They’re Down: New Actos Ads” Ed Silverman, Pharmalot, 7/15/10, pharmalot.com
“Doctors say it’s already over for diabetes drug Avandia” Rita Rubin, USA Today, 7/20/10, usatoday.com
“FDA Panel Votes to Restrict Avandia” Gardiner Harris, New York Times, 7/14/10, prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com
“The Triumph of New-Age Medicine” David H. Freedman, The Atlantic, July/August 2011, theatlantic.com