Stress and Diabetes Treatment Drugs Have Debilitating Effects on Patients

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Type 2 diabetes drug, Avandia, is under review again because it's maker, Glaxo, coveted one of the drug's serious side effects, an increased risk of heart attack. A leaked memo found in a report from senators Max Baucus and Charles Grassley, stated that Glaxo knew of the serious side effect, but pressured doctors to downplay it when prescribing the drug.

Safety reports from 2007 initially contributed to the drug's profit plunging, making any new bans simply add to litigations. “If the product is withdrawn, that adds more weight to any litigation,” he said. “If the FDA makes that decision, it sends a signal to consumers that GSK posed a risk to the consumer,” stated Jeffrey Holford, an analyst at Jefferies International Ltd. in London.

“It can be argued that GSK had a duty to warn patients and the FDA of the company’s concerns,” stated Baucus and Grassley in the Senate committee report. “Instead, GlaxoSmithKline executives attempted to intimidate independent physicians, focused on strategies to minimize or misrepresent findings that Avandia may increase cardiovascular risk, and sought ways to downplay findings that a competing drug might reduce cardiovascular risk.”

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Another report released recently states that type 2 diabetes treatment isn't the only thing affecting diabetics. High stress in patients with type 2 diabetes apparently increases the risk of memory loss. According to a recent study from the Diabetes Care journal, patients with high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) slowed down proper brain memory function.

The study involved 1,066 men and women between the ages of 60 to 75 years with type 2 diabetes. After general intelligence preliminary tests were conducted, the participants fasted morning plasma cortisol levels. “Cognitive abilities in memory, non-verbal reasoning, information processing speed, executive function, and mental flexibility were tested, and a general cognitive ability factor, g, derived.”

The results reveal that “higher fasting cortisol levels were not associated with current g or with performance in individual cognitive domains. However, higher fasting cortisol levels were associated with greater estimated cognitive decline in g and in tests of working memory and processing speed, independent of mood, education, metabolic variables and cardiovascular disease.”

The conclusion targeted lowering high morning cortisol levels in elderly people with type 2 diabetes, which showed to directly correlate with cognitive impairments. Lowering cortisol action may be useful in “ameliorating cognitive decline.” Patients with type 2 diabetes should consult their physicians if they are at risk for any of the above side effects or suffer from high stress.

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