Spanish-Language Consumer Guide Compares Oral Diabetes Medications

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Pastillas para la diabetes tipo 2, a new consumer guide for Hispanic adults who have type 2 diabetes and need information to help them compare various oral medications for their illness, has been released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Diabetes is one of the most serious health issues facing Hispanics in the United States. AHRQ data show that nearly one in eight Hispanics take a prescription drug for diabetes.

"This guide offers critically important information to help Hispanics who have diabetes control their disease and avoid side effects," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. She added that providing information in Spanish will help efforts to get Hispanic patients more involved in their own health care and to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

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The guide organizes comparative research results according to diabetes patients' concerns and questions and assists them in using research results when talking with health care professionals about their diabetes medicines.

The guide compares 10 generic and 13 brand-name diabetes medications and explains how each works to lower blood sugar, which of them may increase body weight, which may cause side effects such as stomach problems or swelling and each pill's potential effect on "bad" and "good" cholesterol.

The guide also warns patients to be alert for problems such as hypoglycemia--too-low blood sugar--which can be caused by certain diabetes pills, as well as other potential side effects. In addition, the guide provides an easy-to-understand comparison of the dose and average cost of each generic and brand-name diabetes medication and the appropriate dose when taken in combination.

Information in the guide is based on the recent AHRQ-funded report, Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Oral Diabetes Medications for Adults with Type 2 Diabetes. That report, based on scientific evidence found in 216 published studies, summarizes the effectiveness, risks and estimated costs for 10 diabetes medications. It was produced by AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program, an ongoing federal initiative that compares alternative treatments for health conditions. The program is intended to help patients, doctors, nurses and others choose the most effective treatments.

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