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Inexpensive Type 2 Drugs Not Always Prescribed

Some doctors don't follow expert advice on how to treat people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, a study found. The American Diabetes Association generally recommends using metformin first, along with lifestyle changes. Researchers analyzed a mountain of data from pharmacies and discovered that a third of people with type 2 don't start with metformin. While 18 percent initiated treatment with a sulfonylurea, also a time-tested and inexpensive type 2 medication, 1 in 5 people was prescribed newer and far more expensive medications, including thiazolidinediones (glitazones) and DPP-4 inhibitors. Insurers and patients together paid an average of $677 over six months for these medications while metformin cost just $116. The researchers acknowledge that in some cases metformin isn't a good choice, such as for people with kidney disease or heart failure.
Source: The American Journal of Medicine, March 2012



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