A New Approach To Treating Diabetes Will Save Billions of Dollars

Photo source: sheller.com

By Armita Rohani

Diabetes is a prevalent issue that has impacted billions worldwide. 1 in 6 adults are currently living with diabetes, and studies have found that the rates for children are dramatically increasing. Type 2 diabetes results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin and makes up 95% of diabetic cases. The hormone, insulin, is made by the pancreas and is key in allowing blood sugar to be used by cells in the body. However, if you have type 2 diabetes, your cells don’t respond to the insulin, causing blood sugar to rise. This harms the body and how it functions, and is a serious cause of heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

A new study by researchers at the University of Exeter shows the results when individuals with type 2 diabetes choose their own medication to manage their blood sugar levels. Funded by the Medical Research Council, 448 patients were given three commonly prescribed drugs for 16 weeks, and were allowed to choose which one they wanted to take. Their blood sugar levels were constantly monitored by researchers, as well as their weight or any side effects the drug may have caused. At the end of their 16 week term, researchers found that their chosen drug effectively lowered their glucose levels and gave them fewer side effects.

Diabetes is prevalent in millions of Americans, and is also highly expensive. $327 billion goes into diabetes annually, and the price for glucose lowering medications rose 240%, from $16.9 billion to $57.6 billion each year. However, this research can lower the cost of drugs by finding the most effective treatment for patients. If people have direct say in what medication proves effective for them, prices will decrease as less amounts of medications will be bought to be experimented with, saving billions of dollars. This is the first study of its kind in allowing diabetics to choose what medication works best for them.