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Diabetes drugs

Diabetes Drug Found to Promote Cancer Tumors, But FDA Urges Diabetics to Keep Using it Anyway

Monday, December 07, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: diabetes drugs, cancer, health news


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(NaturalNews) Although a number of studies have recently implicated a synthetic form of insulin in an increased risk of cancer, the FDA has urged patients to keep taking the drug.

"Based on the currently available data, the FDA recommends that patients should not stop taking their insulin therapy without consulting a physician, since uncontrolled blood sugar levels can have both immediate and long-term serious adverse effects," the FDA said.

Out of four studies on the issue recently published in the journal Diabetologia, three found that the synthetic insulin analogue Lantus (generic name insulin glargine), manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, significantly increased patients' risk of several kinds of malignant tumor.

In addition to appealing to the risks that diabetics face without taking insulin, the FDA sought to cast doubt on the validity of the new studies.

"The duration of patient follow-up in all four studies was shorter than what is generally considered necessary to evaluate for cancer risk from drug exposure," the agency said. "Further, inconsistencies in findings within and across individual studies raise concerns as to whether an association between the use of insulin glargine and cancer truly exists."

However, the FDA did encourage "both health care professionals and patients to report side effects from the use of insulin glargine to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program."

The American Diabetes Association also urged patients to keep taking their insulin, but its logic was slightly different than the FDA's, in that it acknowledged that insulin treatment might increase cancer risk.

"For patients using glargine and considering switching to another form of insulin, the data in these studies make it unclear as to whether any one type of insulin increases the risk of cancer more than other types of insulin," the association said. "Patients concerned about these studies or their insulin regimen should talk to their doctor and should not stop taking their insulin on the basis of the findings reported here."

Sources for this story include: www.ajc.com.

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