Newer isn’t always better — especially when it comes to diabetes drugs

I recently came across a great interview in Medscape about the benefits of using the older, generic drug metformin to treat patients with Type II diabetes.

Of course, metformin is the only drug I ever recommend to manage blood sugar and Type II diabetes. It’s safe and effective, which is no surprise, since it’s derived from the ancient European remedy called French lilac.

In the U.S., the botanical is known as “goat’s rue” and classified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a “noxious weed.” You know the old saying — “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

But big pharma always pushes the new (and supposedly better) drugs to ensure a constant supply of profits, especially when the old, effective drugs go off patent and the profits dry up.

Of course, I always recommend sticking to the older generic drugs — whenever possible. These drugs have been proven to stand the ultimate test of time, working for millions of people for many years. And the safety profile has been established through years of “post-marketing surveillance,” which often reveals side effects that weren’t cherry-picked in controlled clinical trials.

Plus, as I reported before, Donald Light, M.D., Ph.D., my colleague from University of Pennsylvania, published a review that found 9 out of 10 new drugs are no more effective — or only slightly more effective — than older, proven drugs.

But 50 percent of them are more dangerous than the older drugs!

Other than Dr. Light, I don’t come across many other physicians who seem interested in talking about the boring, old, generic drugs. And that’s why the Medscape interview caught my eye. In the interview, Allison M. Petznick, D.O., a family medicine doctor from Ohio, explained how there’s certainly a place for the older medications in treating high blood sugar…

Family medicine doctors see value of older drugs

Dr. Petznick said she keeps most of her patients with Type II diabetes on metformin because it improves insulin sensitivity, meaning patients take less insulin. Perhaps without quite realizing it, she’s referring to the real key to blood sugar control that most doctors miss.

You see, insulin and insulin-like drugs just drive the excess sugar from your blood into your tissue cells. So while it reduces the hazards of high sugar in the blood itself, insulin simply shifts the problem to your cells — which in turn, have to deal with the excess sugar.

Interestingly, when insulin was first discovered in the 1920s, it drove out all the older, natural remedies for blood sugar, like French lilac.

Ultimately, insulin is not the long-term answer. And Dr. Petznick is correct to avoid or minimize use of it in treating her patients.

By comparison, metformin stops the sugar in your GI tract from ever being absorbed into your blood in the first place. And recent research shows that one of the ways it works is by improving the health of your microbiome.

And as I’ve been saying for a while now, bioavailability (how much of the drug or supplement is absorbed in the bloodstream) isn’t the be-all, end-all of a treatment’s effectiveness.

Some treatments, including metformin, go straight to work in the gut…before they ever reach the bloodstream. And that’s the secret of what I now call “biome-availability,” as I introduced earlier this week.

Dr. Petznick mentioned she also likes the value metformin offers to her patients. Indeed, the astronomical cost of new drugs is one of the biggest problems she deals with every day. And what’s the point of prescribing a medication if people can’t even afford to take it?

Of course, there are many other botanical remedies that work well to prevent and reverse high blood sugar. You can learn all about these natural approaches for preventing — and even reversing — high blood sugar and Type II diabetes in my Integrative Protocol for Defeating Diabetes. Click here to learn more or enroll today.


“Are Older Diabetes Drugs Safe and Effective?” Medscape ( 12/22/2017