The Benefits of Adding a Second Type 2 Medication
When a single medication doesn’t control blood glucose levels well enough in type 2 diabetes, adding a second one without delay is critical, according to a study. Lifestyle changes and metformin are recommended by the American Diabetes Association as a first line of treatment for people with type 2 diabetes. If, after three months, individuals haven’t met their target A1C—a measure of long-term glucose control—another drug is added. Using data from over 11,000 people, researchers calculated that when a second drug is delayed beyond three months, blood glucose management suffers. After a year, participants who waited for the second drug had average A1C levels of 8.2 percent, compared with an in-range 6.8 percent for those who began taking a second medication within three months. By five years, the delayed group had higher rates of heart attacks and amputations. The group that started a second drug by three months had a higher number of severe low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) episodes, but risk for lows varies by medication, so be sure to discuss your options with your doctor.
Source: Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, published online Feb. 17, 2017