CINCINNATI—The year has been filled with updated warning labels on more than one medication used to treat type 2 diabetes.
University of Cincinnati (UC) diabetologist Barbara Ramlo-Halsted, MD, recommends talking with your physician before emptying your medicine cabinets.
News reports of adverse events and black-box warnings can cause alarm, but “medications are often a useful tool for people managing their type 2 diabetes,” says Ramlo-Halsted. “And stopping use of a medicine without first consulting a physician can lead to unwanted complications.”
Type 2 diabetes results from the body’s inability to properly use insulin—a hormone that converts sugar and other foods into energy within the body. If left unmanaged, diabetes can lead to vision loss, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and nerve or blood vessel damage.
Some people are able to manage their diabetes through diet and exercise alone, but many need medications to improve the body’s ability to use the insulin that is produced, promote increased insulin production and/or reduce blood sugar.
Ramlo-Halsted recommends learning as much as you can about your diabetes and the medications you use to control it.
“Understanding those medications and their potential side effects will allow you to be more knowledgeable about your own disease and can give you clues as to when, if ever, you need to seek medical attention,” says Ramlo-Halsted.
The American Diabetes Association estimates that more than 23 million Americans have diabetes—with nearly 6 million of those cases yet to be diagnosed.
For more information about diabetes, visit www.netwellness.org, a collaborative health-information Web site staffed by Ohio physicians, nurses and allied health professionals.
To schedule an appointment at UC’s diabetes center, call (513) 475-8200.