Ineffective treatment research highlights ‘the importance of individual needs’

By Editor
1st July 2014
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Research highlighting ineffective treatments for some people with Type 2 Diabetes demonstrates “the importance of looking at the individual needs”, according to Diabetes UK.

A study by the University College London (UCL), the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Hospital has claimed treatments to reduce blood sugar levels “do more harm than good” in many Type 2 diabetes patients, particularly older people.

The research, which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that for many people the benefits of taking diabetes medications are so small that they are outweighed by the minor harms and risks associated with treatment.

Simon O’Neill, Director of Health Intelligence of Diabetes UK, said: “Clearly, everyone with Type 1 diabetes needs to have insulin to stay alive. But for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, sometimes there is a balance to be struck where certain medications might help give someone a longer life but also cause side effects that might negatively impact on quality of life.

“This study highlights the importance of looking at the individual needs of the person with Type 2 diabetes, rather than adopting a blanket approach. It also underlines how vital it is that healthcare professionals and people with diabetes work closely together to jointly decide what the best treatment options are for that person and weighing up the potential benefits and side-effects, which will vary from person-to-person, needs to be at the centre of that discussion.

“This is why having a care plan jointly agreed by the person and the healthcare professional is part of the 15 Healthcare Essentials that everyone with the condition should get.

“If anyone with diabetes is concerned about their own medication, they should discuss this with their GP. We would strongly advise people not to stop taking medication without talking to their GP first.”

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