There are 11 classes of drugs approved to help control blood sugar in type 2 diabetes; nine of these classes are relatively new and have been introduced since 1995.
Risks vs. Benefits
Researchers say most adults with type 2 diabetes use more than one class of diabetes drugs to achieve optimal blood sugar control, and up-to-date comparisons of the benefits vs. the risks of these new drugs are necessary.
In their review, researchers looked at more than 160 studies on the benefits vs. risks of various diabetes drugs and drug combinations. The results showed metformin, both on its own and in combination with other medications, had the best benefit-to-risk profile in controlling blood sugar.
“Although the long-term benefits and harms of diabetes medications remains unclear, the evidence supports the use of metformin as a first-line agent,” write researcher Wendy L. Bennett of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The review also showed that a comparison of various two-drug treatment combinations did not clearly show that one specific combination was more beneficial than the others.