Five Diabetes Headlines – A Quick and Dirty Review

Ricocheting around the press and the blogosphere:

1) Statins for all diabetics One-third fewer people with diabetes (type 1 or type 2) would suffer heart attacks or strokes if they took cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, a U.K. study says. If you’re over 40, and not already on a statin, you’re urged to get on one. The experts say it’s like wearing a helmet for protection when you’re riding a bike. Sounds good, but there are still folks out there who believe that statins can be harmful. Well-known side effects, especially muscle pain, are not making me feel good about this.

2) Vytorin cholesterol drug has bombed
— Don’t panic, it doesn’t appear to be harmful; it just doesn’t work, according to new study results. Still, patients and doctors alike are confused.

“”It certainly throws a monkey wrench into this whole field,” says Prediman K. Shah, director of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Doctors had thought that lowering bad cholesterol, or LDL, was always good. But in this study, LDL was cut 40% more for the people on Vytorin than those on the older drug Zocor, yet there was no benefit in terms of preventing the buildup of artery plaque.”

Kind of makes you wonder about Big Headline #1, above. It might just be all about making money. Scary.

3) Lilly and MannKind plow ahead with inhaled insulin plans
— Despite the spectacular flop that was Exubera AND the fact that Novo Nordisk recently dropped its planned inhalable product, these two companies still believe “that diabetics will embrace their needle-free alternative.” They plan to pursue FDA approval by the end of the year.

Duly noted: “Patients aren’t clamoring for an inhaled product because needle sizes for administering insulin have become smaller, making injections less painful, analysts said.” Ya think?

So is pushing ahead, pouring money and resources into another inhaler, pure folly? The definition of fanaticism, perhaps? Only time will tell — that, and designing a better inhaler with more precise dosing options this time around ;)

4) “Illness Presents Diabetics With Special Challenges
— I thought I’d point out that this press release from the ADA was picked up in the Washington Post, and Forbes, not to mention HealthCentral Network, HealthDay News, BioMedicine News, PharmDaily, and a host of smaller websites and newspapers around the country. That’s some nice coverage! Kudos to the ADA PR machine.

Basically, the six tips offered for sick-day management aren’t really news to most PWDs. Just a nice little reminder to be prepared, and get your flu shot, of course.

5) Home Diagnostics rolls out TRUEtest no-coding glucose test strips
— I hadn’t heard many new glucose meter announcements in a while, so here you go: TRUEtest is designed with “state-of-the-art… no-coding technology that automatically calibrates with the company’s upcoming TRUEresult and TRUE2go blood glucose meters.”

Not that “no coding” is all that new, or even all that valuable, to my mind. I actually think it’s kind of a gimmick to get more patients hooked on newer meters and test-strip streams. But if you’re interested in trying the TRUEtest anyway, get information about where to buy HERE.

… and that’s all the news that’s fit to print, for this hour, anyway.


6 Responses

  1. Doug MacLeod
    Doug MacLeod January 23, 2008 at 2:05 pm | | Reply

    I had tried statins (Lipitor, I believe) and along the line developed painful calf cramping, elevated cardiac enzymes (!!?!!) and a persistent taste of rancid butter in my mouth (lost a lot of weight because everything tasted like that).

    Because of the elevated cardiac enzymes, I had to have a treadmill study and ultimately a diagnostic heart cath. done. Fortunately, my cardiac vessels were “squeaky clean”.

    All of the above problems cleared after going off of statins. Not that they are necessarily bad, but they are just not for my body.

  2. Hannah
    Hannah January 23, 2008 at 5:12 pm | | Reply

    Make an insulin inhaler that is as small and portable as an asthma inhaler, and I think people might be more inclined to use it. Y’hear that, Lilly? Please, no more insulin bongs!

  3. Lauren
    Lauren January 23, 2008 at 8:54 pm | | Reply

    I am a healthy (vegetarian) 27 year old who has been diagnosed with type 1 for less than a year, and a doctor I recently saw says that I belong on a statin (my total cholesterol is below 150 and my LDL is below 80). I was shocked, and asked him for literature on the benefits of statins in people with completely normal cholesterol levels and healthy lifestyles. His response was that the statins take care of the unseen blood vessel damage caused not by elevated lipids, but by hyperglycemia.

    There’s also an association between heart disease and type 1 diabetes, independent of glycemic control. Even if you have a perfect A1c, being type 1 increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. (Personally, I think that association exists because we lack the beneficial protective effects of C-peptide.) Anyway, statin therapy “for all diabetics” is a controversial topic. I’m sure that the drug companies have a hand in marketing to the increasing population of type 1 and 2 diabetics …

    I also recently met a 70-year-old complication-free type 1 diabetic who was diagnosed at the age of 30, long before such great tools for management were at our disposal. She told me she’s tired of people assuming she is a type 2 diabetic because of her age — she said type 1′s get old, too! Fortunately, becoming a septuagenarian type 1 is more possible than ever nowadays.

  4. Felix Kasza
    Felix Kasza January 23, 2008 at 9:54 pm | | Reply

    Lauren@9:54pm –

    The effects of C-peptide may not be as beneficial as all that. A quick PubMed search turned up an epidemiological study (pub. Diab Care Nov 2007) that finds a relationship between increased C-peptide and increased mortality (both all-cause and heart) as well as stroke. PMID: 18025409

    Note that this is but one study (out of the 60 abstracts I checked) — but that is one more than the number of studies finding a statistically significant beneficial effect for C-peptide.

    You know, sometimes I wish this annoying disease was somewhat simpler ….


  5. James
    James January 25, 2008 at 2:04 pm | | Reply

    Statins wrecked my shoulder and arm muscles in less than 6 weeks -I came off them and a year later I’m fine, but it was 6 months before I felt normal. Since then I’ve started taking Zetia, which has reduced LDL from 140 to 89, no side effects and a totally different mechanism to statins. Works in the gut not the bloodstream i.e. non-invasive. Interesting that the whole LDL lowering idea may be misguided anyway.

  6. Lind
    Lind April 1, 2008 at 12:05 am | | Reply

    It’s so useful information…. thanks.

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