We conducted an email-interview with Mr. Philip Home who is a Professor of Diabetes Medicine at Newcastle University and consultant physician in Newcastle, UK. Professor Home is Chairman of A1chieve® Global Advisory Board.
He answers a few questions related to diabetes and throws some light on how Novomix 30, a drug founded by Novo Nordisk, a health care company based in Denmark is revolutionary in treatment of diabetes.
Is diabetes still without a cure? What are the latest advances in its treatment?
There is no cure for diabetes, type 1 or type 2. A short term study has shown that reversal of diabetes can occur with extreme dieting, but it will always come back when the diet is reversed.
Are oral glucose-lowering drugs effective in controlling diabetes symptoms?
Initially in type 2 diabetes lifestyle changes, and yes oral glucose-lowering medications, can be effective in ameliorating symtoms. However this is not the sole aim of therapy as blood glucose (sugar) levels need to be kept near to normal to reduce the risk of severe adverse health damage (eg heart, eyes, kidneys) in future years. Furthermore the condition is progressive, so gradually the oral agents cannot control the condition, and usually insulin replacement therapy is eventually necessary to protect future health.
Are insulin injections preferable to oral drugs for managing blood glucose?
Most people prefer oral medications while these are still effective enough. Unfortunately with time this is not the case, and then insulin injections are not just preferable but necessary.
Is insulin injection the best treatment available for treating diabetics?
Oral agents cannot work effectively enough if the body is not producing enough of its own insulin. External insulin delivery (injections) is then the only and hence best available option. Some would argue that insulin is anyway a natural substance, and hence preferable to chemical drugs.
What are the diabetes medications designed to do for controlling the symptoms?
The usual symptoms, tiredness, frequent urination, thirst, sometimes weight loss, are due to very high glucose (sugar) levels in the blood. Late symptoms (heart attacks, kidney failure, blindness) are due to moderately high levels over a number of years. Diabetes medications are designed to reduce blood glucose levels in different ways, without causing other side effects if possible.
What are the considerations of a healthcare professional before recommending a treatment for diabetes?
They ask themselves: what have we already used; what is the next recommended medication; what is the person with diabetes likely to respond well to, or alternatively have side effects from? Then the options are discussed with the person with the diabetes and a choice made.
Is NovoMixR 30 better than the usual insulin in controlling hypoglycaemic episodes?
NovoMix 30 is made with an analogue of human insulin, a very small change from the natural product. Compared to the equivalent preparation made with human insulin, studies suggest less hypoglycaemia, both overall and severe, occurs. There are other modern insulins that also give less hypoglycaemia than their historic human insulin equivalents.
What are the side effects of diabetes treatment with NovoMixR 30?
NovoMix is an insulin. All insulins may cause hypoglycaemia (glucose levels which go too low) from time to time because they are so effective. In some people there is weight gain, unless careful dietary measures are taken when the insulin is started. Other side effects (eg allergies) are rare.
If there are side effects, is it safe to intensify the dosage of NovoMixR 30?
If low glucose levels (hypoglycaemia) occur and are a problem, then the doses given are usually adjusted, often reducing at one time of day, but perhaps increasing at another. If weight gain is occurring, then some attention to diet may be needed, and meanwhile dose increases may be held off.
Is NovoMixR 30 the best available diabetes treatment till now?
There is no 'best'. Different glucose-lowering therapies suit different people, often in combination, and what suits a person is what is best for them! In terms of the type of insulin represented by NovoMix 30 (a mixture of a meal-time and a between-meal insulin), it is not bettered by any other insulin in its class.
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