New diabetic drugs look promising, but won’t be enough to manage the epidemic

‘I’m sorry, but your sugar is still too high,” I tell my anxious patient, reviewing his blood work. Sathees, a 39-year-old who has had diabetes for six years, has been dreading this moment. But he accepts my verdict, knowing I will prescribe more medication – adding to the five tablets that he’s already taking.

For diabetics, this is a typical scenario, repeated thousands of times a day in clinics across Canada. Too frequently, the medications we use to treat diabetes just fade away, losing their sugar-reducing effect.

“Therapies tend to fail over time,” says Prof. Bernie Zinman, who spoke recently at a conference at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, University of Toronto. That’s why family docs have to pile on more and more pills in an attempt to prevent diabetes complications – heart, kidney, eye and nerve damage.


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