What a black-box warning on some diabetes drugs means for you.
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Dr. David L. Katz: My favorite way to prevent diabetes is through life style. Clinical trials demonstrate the power of the healthy diet and regular physical activity to slash the risk of diabetes. Let's face it, eating well and being as active as we should be can be quite difficult. So, at times we need a little help from our friend in the pharmaceutical industry but it is good to know there are drugs that are very effective not only at treating diabetes but it reducing diabetes risk. For example, in the diabetes prevention program several thousand adults at high risk for diabetes were randomly assigned to usual care a life style intervention where drug treatment with the medication called metformin or Glucophage. That medication, taken daily, all by itself reduces the risk of diabetes by a very impressive 30%. More recently in a trail called dream, a medication not familiar to us all Avandia reduce the risk of diabetes by twice as much by 60%. However unlike life style which is just applying good for us medication comes with risk factors so we probably all heard now that Avandia may have some dangers attached. When a drug has particular and noteworthy dangers, the FDA can recommend what's called black box morning. The standards for this are fairly subjective but this warning is put on the label of medication when it state that the average user needs to know there is a particular and important risk. Avandia may increase the risk of heart disease in some vulnerable people. That's important. One of the things we often overlook when worrying about the risk factors of medications, is the dangers of not taking medication. Letting your diabetes get out of control, because you are not taking prescribed medication will almost certainly be far more dangerous than any of the medications used to treat diabetes. So, whatever you do don't just stop medication, there are many treatment options and you can explore those with your doctor. Working together you can certainly a medication to lower your risk of diabetes with the drug that's safe and comfortable for you to take. For Vital Finds, I am Dr. David Katz.