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Friday, September 15, 2006

Here is another well thought out idea

No where do you read who paid for this study, but if you ask my opinion someone here forgot to let the cat out.

You know they use this 'logic' when medical folks tell you that you need to take those liver destroying cholesterol lowering drugs to prevent all kinds of other diseases. Yes, they lowered the normal cholesterol levels to push these drugs on more people.

And at the same time it was decided that normal blood pressure levels had to be lowered so you fell in a category called "pre-hypertention". Now why is that you ask, oh, so the docs can sign you up for a calcium channel blocker that can kill you on the spot from sudden cardiac failure, while trying to lower your blood pressure.

And don't forget than new drug they are pushing on TV these days that blends the calcium channel blocker and the cholesterol lowering drug in one easy pill!

Now, they have lowered the proven normal blood sugar levels to make you a "pre-diabetic" so they can push more drugs. Wonder who paid for this study? A drug company by any name, one might suppose.

And what about this drug, Avandia, or in generic terms - rosiglitazone maleate?
Sure it is classed as a drug to "increase insulin sensitivity" for people who are referred to as those with NIDDM (non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus).

And if you are "pre-diabetic", the theroy is that you should take this drug so you won't get diabetes.

Now for women you'll get more drug because Avandia is not as effective for you. However if you already have liver or kidney dis-ease you should not take this drug! And it will increase your LDL level so - hey - more drugs...

As for side effects, the most reproted were: Headache, Influenza, Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, Cough, and Hyperglycemia. Just think about the drugs the can prescribe for these problems (see my upcoming thoughts on CIPRO since it was in the news again today).

Now for the Golden Calf Award of the day, or maybe as Keith Olbermann might call it, The Worst ... Ok so let's call it the worst example of lack of consideration of the scientific method reported lately.

And don't let me forget thes adverse effects -

Cardiovascular Deaths

CHF Worsening (CHF is congestive heart failure)

New or Worsening Edema (swelling)

New or Worsening Dyspnea (shortness of breath, or SOB as it were)

Increases in CHF Medication

Cardiovascular Hospitalization*

Ischemic Adverse Events

·Myocardial Infarction (heart attack, now mind you don't think about the woman who died in the ER from a heart attack because the nurse did not properly evaluate her symptoms, as they are different then in men which is what we all learn about)
·Angina (chest pain because of lack of oxygen to the cells)

This has to sound like a lot of fun and exactly what this doctor wouldn't order.

Did you hear the word 'potassium' anywhere? It will help take insulin into the cell and it is found in green vegetables. And there is an herbal capsule that can provide this safely and inexpensively.

Don't forget too that those veggies are high in fiber.

Eureka! - fiber lowers your blood sugar level.

But to get past my questioning smugness you might want to make sure you read this article closely. Note that people in the study did develop diabetes anyway and some died.

See more...

Study: Diabetes drug may be preventative

By MARIA CHENG and MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Medical WritersFri Sep 15, 3:54 PM ET

The largest diabetes prevention study ever done has found that a drug already used to treat the disease also can help keep "pre-diabetics" from developing it. But many experts say that losing weight and exercising remain a safer, cheaper approach.

The drug, rosiglitazone, or Avandia, appeared to cut the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by more than half, doctors reported Friday. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes and a public health menace that afflicts more than 200 million people worldwide.

Avandia also helped restore normal blood-sugar function in many of those who took it.

A second part of the study found that a different drug, a blood pressure medication called ramipril, or Altace, made no difference in the risk of developing diabetes but helped normalize blood sugar for some.

The research was long-awaited, and the Avandia results at first glance seem impressive. However, experts say it is difficult to determine how much of the improvement was due to the drug, because study volunteers also were regularly counseled about healthy diets and lifestyles.

"We know that lifestyle changes alone can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by up to 58 percent," said Dr. Martin Abrahamson, medical director of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, who had no ties to the study.

Those benefits come without the $90-to-$170-a-month cost and side effects of Avandia, said Dr. Alvin Powers, director of diabetes research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who also had no role in the research.

"Fluid retention, congestive heart failure, and weight gain are known side effects of Avandia" when it's used to treat diabetes, Powers noted.

Results of the study were reported Friday at a diabetes meeting in Denmark. The Avandia findings were published online by the British medical journal The Lancet; the Altace results were posted online by the New England Journal of Medicine. Both will appear in print editions later.

The study was paid for by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and companies that make the drugs. (GlaxoSmithKline PLC makes Avandia; Sanofi-Aventis SA and King Pharmaceuticals market Altace.) Some study leaders consult for the companies.

The aim was preventing Type 2 diabetes, the form that is linked to obesity and sometimes leads to kidney failure, amputations and death. It occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or cannot effectively use what it manages to produce.

About 18 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes, and another 40 million have blood-sugar abnormalities called pre-diabetes. Research suggests that as many as half of pre-diabetics develop diabetes within three years.

Doctors at McMaster University in Canada and in 20 other countries assigned 5,000 pre-diabetics to get either Avandia, Altace, both drugs or no drug.

In the Lancet study, 306 of the 2,365 people given Avandia for an average of three years developed diabetes or died, compared with 686 of the 2,634 who did not receive that drug.

Fourteen of those given Avandia developed heart failure, while only two cases of heart failure occurred in people who didn't take the drug. Some doctors believe the heart risk is manageable as long as physicians carefully check patients taking the drug for heart abnormalities.

However, Powers said a drug to prevent one disease — diabetes — must not bring a substantial risk of another. Otherwise, doctors will be unwilling to prescribe it, especially when lifestyle changes and other drugs such as metformin can prevent diabetes, too, although sometimes to a lesser extent.

"Diet and exercise are still our best way to prevent this," said Dr. Julie Ingelfinger, who wrote an editorial in the New England Journal on the study results.

Still, some doctors were encouraged by Avandia's potential.

"This underscores the fact that diabetes is preventable, and that we might have another means to do that with," said Dr. Peter Sheehan, director of diabetes at the Cabrini Medical Center in New York, who had no ties to the study.

The study's leader, Dr. Hertzel Gerstein of McMaster University, acknowledged a "synergistic effect" between Avandia and exercise, because both sensitize the body to the effects of insulin.

Dr. Jeffrey Probstfield, a University of Washington professor who led the U.S. portion of the study, said he would advise pre-diabetics to try the drug.

"I'm a strict adherent to the lifestyle approach," but the drug adds one more tool people can use to avoid a deadly and disabling disease, he said.

Maria Cheng reported from London and Marilynn Marchione reported from Milwaukee.

On the Net:

New England Journal:

The Lancet:

Diabetes information: impaired

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