This blog tracks updates to the Blood Sugar 101 Web site.

Friday, April 22, 2016

FDA Warns Onglyza and Nesina Raise Risk of Heart Failure Confirming Earlier Study

Page Changed: DPP-4 Inhibitors Januvia, Onglyza, Trajenta, Combiglyze, Janumet, and Jentadueto

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In April of 2016 After another year of dallying around, during which unknown numbers of patients were probably injured by this drug and a new one in the same class, Nesina, the FDA issued a safety alert stating,
An FDA safety review has found that type 2 diabetes medicines containing saxagliptin and alogliptin may increase the risk of heart failure, particularly in patients who already have heart or kidney disease. As a result, FDA is adding new warnings to the drug labels about this safety issue.
However, in line with the FDA's policy of putting the business interests of the companies it regulates ahead of the interests of the people who take these drugs, the FDA's recommendation to doctors was merely,
Health care professionals should consider discontinuing medications containing saxagliptin and alogliptin in patients who develop heart failure and monitor their diabetes control.
This is shameful! Why should any doctor wait until a patient taking a suspect drug has already developed heart failure--a condition that usually limits their life expectancy to a few years--before taking them off it. There are multiple studies confirming that these drugs appear to be promoting the developement of heart failure.You can read the FDA's safety alert noting the label change HERE
If you are prescribed any of these drugs, remember that few busy doctors are able keep up with changes to the labels of all the drugs they prescribe. And as the FDA allows these suspect drugs to be sold, they will continue to be prescribed. This kind of FDA response is in line with its policy of putting the business interests of the drug companies it is supposed to regulate above those of drug users. 

Metformin Protects Diabetic Women with Cancer Better than Other Anti-diabetic drugs

Page Changed: Metformin

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A second large epidemiological study, which examined data from the Women's Health Initiative, found that though women with diabetes had a higher rate of cancer than the general population, "Metformin users, particularly long-term users, may be at lower risk of developing certain cancers and dying from cancer, compared to users of other anti-diabetes medications." That study is found here:

Diabetes, metformin and incidence of and death from invasive cancer in postmenopausal women: Results from the women's health initiative. Zhihong Gong et al., International Journal of Cancer, Volume 138, Issue 8, pages 1915–1927, 15 April 2016