Health experts cite importance of combining healthy lifestyle and safe medication in treatment of Type 2 diabetes

July 16, 2015 5:12 am 

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, July 14 (PNA) — Aside from advising diabetes patients to engage in positive lifestyle-related changes, health experts say it is equally important to ensure that the medicines they are taking are safe or will not cause them further risk or complicate their conditions as they seek available treatment options.

In a roundtable discussion on managing Type 2 diabetes held at Romulo Café in Jupiter St., Makati City on Tuesday, two experts shared their views that since the disease itself already increases the patients’ risk for cardiovascular events, it is important that they are administered with drugs that are safe for them instead of aggravating their conditions.

The discussion was organized by MSD (Merck Sharp and Dohme) Company, a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products.

“Because these patients (Type 2 diabetes) already face great risk for cardiovascular complications, a good understanding of the safety of medicines is very important,” said Dr. Ma. Adelaida M. Iboleon-Dy, a cardiologist from St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City.

In her presentation, she cited that people with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing cardiovascular diseases.

“Complications of diabetes are serious and costly,” she said.

The doctor added that among these complications are a number of life-threatening illnesses frequently associated with diabetes such as kidney disease and various cardiovascular diseases that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

She said that the disease also contributes to blindness, incidence of nervous system damage, limb amputation and others.

“With diabetes predisposing a patient to develop cardiovascular disease, we have to ensure that drugs that will be made available to them that control blood sugar must not further contribute to the already elevated risk,” added Dr. Mary Anne Lim Abrahan, a professor and endocrinologist of UP-PGH.

Diabetes is a disease that happens when either the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or the cells of the body are not responding properly to the insulin produced.

Diabetic patients often deal with various symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, increased hunger, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow healing of sores or frequent infections and patches of darkened skin known as “acanthosis nigricans.”

“It is important for patients to be as positive and disciplined as possible,” Dr. Abrahan said as she cited that patients should avoid fatty-rich foods, maintain a healthy body weight, replaced carbohydrates intake with fiber-rich whole grain food and allocate time for exercise of at least 150 minutes each week.

During the forum, one of Dr. Abrahan's patients testified how important can regular consultation with a physician has helped her and her family in managing her illness of type 2 diabetes.

Sixty-nine-year-old Aida Espejo said it is also very important that a patient listens to the good advice of the physician and in regular intake of the prescribed medicines.

She said that with the combined compliance to the recommended treatment to her of taking daily the “Sitagliptin” — a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP) inhibitor — and maintaining a healthy lifestyle like balanced eating of proper food, having exercise, and not engaging in smoking, she has not experienced any adverse reactions or any worsening conditions like development of CVD illnesses.

Espejo said she was first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes when she was 54.

She had a family history of diabetes and all her sisters had developed the disease.

Dr. Abrahan explained that Sitagliptin has undergone several years of studies to ensure its efficacy and safeness through the TECOS (Trial Evaluating Cardiovascular Outcomes with Sitagliptin).

She said that the trials were designed in compliance with the United States Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) directives in 2008 wherein the new anti-diabetic medications are required to conduct studies on cardiovascular safety.

Dr. Abrahan added that 38 countries were given with the medication and after the three-year observation period, it was shown that Sitagliptin did not increase the combined occurrence of cardiovascular events (death, heart attack, stroke, hospitalization due to angina).

According to Glenda Claudio, MSD (Merck Sharp & Dohme) Company business unit director, the drug is already out for so many years and continuous monitoring of its safeness and effectiveness is in place.

“We do not receive yet any adverse effects or complaints. We have a reporting system for monitoring… We also take a look at any particular reported risk even if such has nothing to do with the drug itself,” Claudio said in an interview with this writer. (PNA)

SCS/LSJ/SSC

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