Watch out for fake diabetes treatments

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Published July 31, 2013

| Consumer Reports

If you see products on store shelves that claim to treat, cure, or prevent diabetes and its complications, the Food and Drug Administration wants to you to beware: it warned 15 companies last week about the illegal marketing of certain diabetes products, including Glucocil, Glytain, ProBeta’s Gynmena Sylvestre, and Zostrix Joint and Arthritis Pain Relief Cream.

What can you do? Watch out for the following product types and their treatment claims:

  • “Natural” supplements. We’ve warned consumers in the past about the dangers of supplements. Some drugs labeled as “natural” were found to contain pharmaceutical ingredients that may actually harm rather than help.
  • Dietary supplements. These supplements claim to treat and even prevent diabetes. These products are not FDA approved and therefore cannot make such a claim.
  • Online pharmacy drugs. Online suppliers are selling prescription drugs to people without a prescription. Unapproved versions of diabetes drugs are found on these pharmacy websites.
  • Unapproved OTC medications. These drugs claim to relieve symptoms associated with diabetes, but are not approved by the FDA.

Besides potential harm from the various treatments, there is concern that using these products will prevent people from seeking medical treatment and FDA-approved drugs.

Check out Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs for the best medicine options for people with type 2 diabetes.

Here are three generic, low-cost options that our CR Best Buy Drug experts recommend you discuss with your doctor:

  • Metformin and Metformin Sustained Release (alone or with glipizide or glimepiride)
  • Glipizide and Glipizide Sustained release (alone or with metformin
  • Glimepiride (alone or with metformin)

In addition to taking medicine, it’s important to closely monitor your blood sugar. In our tests of blood glucose meters, the Accu-Chek Aviva and the FreeStyle Freedom Lite were two that came out on top. Results from blood glucose meters can help patients make adjustments to diet, exercise, and treatment plans. Close monitoring can help to lower the risk of diabetes-related issues, such as kidney disease and seizures.

Although there are no reported injuries yet, according to the FDA, the agency urged people who have experienced any side effects to report them through an online form.

Ciara Rafferty

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