New research could give fresh hope to patients with type 2 diabetes who want to manage their glucose levels without having to rely on insulin treatment.
The US study looked at records of almost 200 patients dating back to 1992. It found that, of 96 people who in 1992 were prescribed oral medications, 55% of them were still using oral drugs to control their blood sugar 15 years later. The other 45% eventually switched to insulin – either on its own or with oral drugs.
“Our data suggest that some patients can remain in good glucose control for years using non-insulin, oral diabetic agents,” says Arthur Swislocki of the Veterans Affairs Northern California Health Care System, which carried out the study.
He said the results would give people who have type 2 diabetes the encouraging news that they may be able to avoid or delay insulin injections, although other experts cautioned that more studies are needed.
Robert Vigersky, president-elect of America’s Endocrine Society, agreed the results send a positive message to patients with type 2 diabetes who may want to manage their disease without insulin. But he says the news was more a testimony to the new and improved oral medications that have been made available since the early 1990s.
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