LONDON, June 8, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- When Britons think about type 2 diabetes, one of their greatest concerns is potentially needing to inject themselves,1 as estimated by a new survey released today. Despite tablets being available to help manage the condition, nearly half (46 percent) of those surveyed still wrongly perceive injections as the main treatment for type 2 diabetes*.(1) This misperception amongst the public, and potentially those yet to be diagnosed, is critical, as four out of 10 respondents claim they would be most concerned about having to inject themselves if diagnosed with type 2 diabetes tomorrow.(1)
Furthermore, nine out of 10 said that given the choice they would prefer to take a tablet over an injection,(1) highlighting the need for additional oral medicines, such as 'Janumet', a new tablet launched in the UK today for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.(2) 'Janumet' is a combination tablet that brings together two leading treatment options into one tablet,(2) reducing the need for multiple treatments and making life simpler for patients, especially those who have injection concerns.
Whilst there are 2.6 million Britons currently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes,(3) it is estimated that there are a further 500,000 individuals unaware they are living with the condition.(3) It is particularly important that these undiagnosed patients are not deterred from coming forward by misunderstandings around type 2 diabetes, commented Dr Dawn Harper, GP in Gloucestershire, and leading TV medic. If fears exist around injections, people need to know that many type 2 diabetics don't need injections to manage their condition.
The findings highlight a lack of knowledge that tablets do exist to treat type 2 diabetes,(1) which may help patients control their blood glucose levels and may in turn delay the need for injections. The survey also found that as a nation we underestimate the impact of type 2 diabetes on our health. Over two-thirds of Britons surveyed did not know that heart problems are a serious complication associated with the condition,(1) despite heart attacks being the most common cause of death in people with diabetes.(4) Less than 20 percent of those surveyed were aware of the link of type 2 diabetes to stroke,(1) and nearly half (43 percent) did not know of the link with deterioration in vision or, in extreme cases, blindness.(1) Only 25 percent realised that the condition, and some of the older medications, can lead to an increase in weight in these patients.(1)
Whilst the complications associated with type 2 diabetes may result in long-term health problems, it is important to remember that with careful treatment management and lifestyle changes, these can be reduced, added Dr Dawn Harper.
Some of the older tablets may increase the risk of weight gain in type 2 diabetics.(5,6) The good news is that newer medicines, such as twice daily pill 'Janumet', have a low risk of weight gain,(5) as well as a low risk of 'hypo'5 (hypoglycaemia, or extreme blood sugar lows). 'Janumet', one pill taken twice daily, contains metformin, a widely used diabetes medicine, and 'Januvia' (sitagliptin)(2) a new generation of medicine in the class of DPP-4 inhibitors.
* Oral anti-hyperglycaemic agents control the condition and delay progression of the disease, however most patients over time, will eventually progress to insulin injections.
About the survey(1)
The survey was conducted amongst 3,000 members of the general public in the UK by OnePoll. The survey was conducted online in April 2010. The respondents were over 18 years in age, with 5 percent of respondents claiming to be type 1 or type 2 patients, 15 percent claiming to be a family member or carer of someone with diabetes, 4 percent in a medical profession, and 77 percent claiming to be none of the above.
Type 2 diabetes normally develops later in life and is characterised by three defects:(7)
- The cells in the pancreas that produce insulin become 'worn out' and can't produce enough insulin. - The body's cells become unresponsive to insulin in the blood, which prevents the glucose getting in to them. - The liver may be producing too much glucose which the body doesn't need.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being overweight, high blood pressure, family history, ethnicity (Afro-Caribbean and Asian groups), and ageing (most common in those aged over 40 years old, and younger in 'at-risk' ethnic groups).(8)
Without effective management, type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, limb amputation, kidney failure and blindness. It is also associated with impotence and mental health issues.(9)
Hypoglycaemia occurs when the level of glucose in the blood falls too low, usually under 4 mmol/l. People with diabetes who take insulin and/or certain diabetes tablets are at risk of having hypoglycaemia. It may occur if someone has taken too much diabetes medication, delayed or missed a meal or snack, not eaten enough carbohydrate, taken part in unplanned or more strenuous exercise than usual, and has been drinking alcohol without food. Sometimes there is no obvious cause. When hypoglycaemia happens the person often experiences 'warning signs', which occur as the body tries to raise the blood glucose level. These 'warning signs' vary from person to person but often include feeling shaky, sweating, tingling in the lips, going pale, heart pounding, confusion and irritability. (10)
Treatment is usually very simple and requires taking some fast acting carbohydrate, such as a sugary drink or some glucose tablets, and following this up with some longer acting carbohydrate, such as a cereal bar. If left untreated the person might, eventually, become unconscious and would need to be treated with an injection of glucagon (a hormone that raises blood glucose levels). But in the vast majority of cases the body will release its own stores of glucose and raise the blood glucose level to normal, though this may take several hours.(10)
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1. Consumer survey results, led by OnePoll, on behalf of MSD. Data on file.
2. Janumet SPC. Dated March 2010.
3. Diabetes UK website. Guide to diabetes fact sheet. Reviewed 03.06.10 http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Introduction-to-diabetes/Wh...
4. British Heart Foundation Statistics. Mortality from diabetes. http://www.heartstats.org/datapage.asp?id=1113
5. Nauck MA, Meininger G, Sheng D, Terranella L, Stein PP, Tesone P, et al. Efficacy and safety of the dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor, sitagliptin, compared with the sulfonylurea, glIpizide, in patients with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled on metformin alone: A randomized, double-blind, non-inferiority trial. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism 2007;9(2):194-205
6. Hermansen, Kjeld; Morensen, Lene S. Bodyweight changes associated with antihyperlycaemic agents in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Drug Safety: 2007 - Vol. 30, Issue 12, pp 1127-1142
7. Chavez B. Type 2 Diabetes: Insulin Resistance, Beta Cell. Dysfunction and Other Metabolic Hormonal Abnormalities. Chapter 3; Page 24
8. Diabetes UK website. Guide to diabetes fact sheet. Causes risk factors. Reviewed 03.06.10 http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Introduction-to-diabetes/Ca...
9. Diabetes UK website. Guide to diabetes fact sheet. Complications. Reviewed 03.06.10 http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Complications/
10. Diabetes UK website. Guide to diabetes fact sheet. Hypoglycaemia. Reviewed 03.06.10 http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Complications/Hypoglycaemia/ (Due to the length of these URLs, it may be necessary to copy and paste this hyperlink into your Internet browser's URL address field. Remove the space if one exists.)
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