August 3, 2015

SGLT2 Diabetes Drugs May Cause Diabetic Comas

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently posted a warning that three drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes—canagliflozin (brand name: Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga), and empagliflozin (Jardiance)—may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. As if this wasn't enough, several cable channels have ads for joining a class action lawsuit against the makers of canagliflozen. The other two companies may also be victims of this action in the future.

This is one reason I will never use a new drug until it has been on the market for several years. Granted I will probably never use any of the oral diabetes drugs other than metformin (this is now off the medications list for me because of stage 3 kidney disease). Thank goodness, insulin is still working wonderfully! More people with type 2 diabetes should actually consider insulin as the course of treatment.

Ketoacidosis is a condition that can lead to diabetic coma and even death. The signs and symptoms of DKA include difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion, and unusual fatigue or sleepiness. Normally, those with type 1 diabetes are at risk for DKA, whereas it is a rare condition for those with type 2 diabetes. Read my recent blog on DKA here.

This is another in a long line of examples of the harm Big Pharma’s drugs can and do cause. When it comes to the development of new ways to treat diseases, the current system drives the creation of increasingly exorbitantly priced drugs

It is possible for many diabetics to keep their blood sugar levels close to a truly normal range with an integrative approach. Below are some natural ways to control or even reverse diabetes. Please remember that any significant changes to your diet, supplement regime, testing, or lifestyle should be made only after consultation with your doctor or diabetes specialist.
  1. Diet. A diet loaded with leafy greens and other low-starch veggies, high-quality fats, and clean sources of protein are helpful in controlling blood glucose. Be sure to look for a nutritional advisor who is independent, however! Organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Nutrition receive major funding from corporate food interests, including junk food companies. In stark contrast, the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists is not similarly compromised.
  2. Botanicals. Jonathan Wright, MD, notes that several studies show that berberine, an alkaloid found in the herb goldenseal, can lower blood glucose as effectively as the drug metformin at similar doses (500 mg 3x/day). Indian kino gum resin (Pterocarpus marsupium) has been found to regenerate the beta cells that make insulin in the pancreas. This finding validates its long use in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes. Other herbs or food ingredients researched for control of blood glucose include cinnamon, bitter melon, and the fruit Garcinia cambogia to enhance insulin sensitivity.
  3. Supplement wisely. According to Dr. Julian Whitaker, the water-soluble antioxidants and other nutrients that protect against damage may be lost in the excessive urination that accompanies diabetes. For this or other reasons, people with diabetes are more prone to develop kidney disease. All vitamin, mineral, and amino acid levels should be checked, monitored, and kept in normal range with supplements if necessary, along with checking blood glucose, insulin, and A1c, a longer-term marker for blood glucose. Dr. Whitaker particularly recommends supplementing with magnesium and chromium, and alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine for peripheral neuropathy.
  4. Exercise at least thirty minutes every day. This will also control blood pressure.
  5. Take care with prescription drugs. Besides the above warnings, the FDA has launched a safety review of the diabetes drug Actos in light of new data suggesting that the drug may increase risk of bladder cancer. And a combination of two common drugs, one an antidepressant, the other a statin used to lower blood cholesterol, may put people at risk for developing diabetes. This finding is especially important because so little is known about how drugs interact with each other, and so many people are prescribed multiple drugs together. The good news is that it is often possible to control diabetes without the use of any drugs.

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