Older Diabetes Meds Work Well, Cost Less
Doctors generally agree that metformin should be the first glucose-lowering drug for most people with type 2 diabetes who need medication. But if that doesn’t work well enough, the best drug to add next is a matter of debate. A new study compared costs versus benefits of adding older sulfonylureas or newer, more expensive drugs. Average monthly medication costs were about $82 for metformin and $55 for sulfonylureas, compared with $233 to $326 for newer drugs such as sitagliptin (Januvia) and exenatide (Byetta). Adding sulfonylureas to metformin produced the same health benefit at lower cost than the newer drugs, though sulfonylureas increase the risk of low blood glucose.
Source: Diabetes Care, published online Feb. 26, 2014