Diabetes is epidemic. Weight gain, lack of exercise and genetics play a significant role in this disease. Newer drugs can lower blood sugar, prevent progression and in some cases reduce cardiac events.
Diabetes is defined as having fasting sugars of at least 125 or greater. It is also characterized by a HBA1C of 6.5% or more. The ladder is the percentage of sugar attached to red blood cells.
Newer agents for diabetes are terrific but costly. A GLP1 agonist or an SGLT2 inhibitor are breakthrough anti-diabetic drugs but each costs over 500 dollars a month!
Diet and exercise go a long ways towards preventing diabetes but once you develop the disease and need meds, well, It don’t come easy as Ringo Starr would sing.
Metformin is cheap but loses its effectiveness in a year or two plus it can cause nausea and vomiting. The extended release form may cut down the side effects.
Actos or pioglitazone is cheap but can cause weight gain if given in higher dosages.
Glimeperide, glipizide and glyburide are also cheap agents but may increase heart disease.
And insulin is expensive as well. A generic insulin is available but is still costly.
But there is an older drug that may indeed be useful but not approved for diabetes.
It has been used to treat malaria and rheumatoid arthritis and the medicine is called hydroxychloroquine.
In a small study there were few side effects and it lowered the A1C over a point and the sugar from 143 to 112.
It works by lowering the inflammatory response that obesity and diabetes create so your own your own insulin works better.
Additionally, the cost is 25-50 bucks a month and it is commonly used in India for diabetes. Patients also lost 5 pounds but we don’t understand why.
Dr’s. Rx: Type 2 diabetes is rampant and is a risk factor for kidney, eye and heart disease. Hydroxychloroquine is an old drug with a possible new use.