Diabetes drug trials do not consider quality of life issues of patients

Posted on Jul 12, 2008
According to a Mayo Clinic commentary in The Lancet, the impact a medication will have on the quality of life for patients or other potential outcomes important to patients are not being considered in most clinical trials of diabetes drugs.

Instead, the drug trials are focused on the effect on blood sugar levels of particular medications. This results in trials that are smaller, shorter and cheaper that bring about more choices for drugs more quickly. However, these trials are not necessarily better or safer for the patients.

The medical community has become increasingly aware of the need to engage patients who have chronic conditions in decisions regarding their care. For instance, clinicians and patients need to have knowledge of the extent to which medications for diabetes can help patients to feel better and to live longer.

Despite this need, only one out of five randomized trials in diabetes published in top medical journals have measured the effects drugs will have on the quality of life and the risk of possible complications that are associated with diabetes, like death, heart attacks, strokes, amputation, blindness, and dialysis.

According to the author, trials that are currently ongoing have not shown much more promise.

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