Older diabetes drugs safer, warns consumer group

July 23, 2007

The report gives side-by-side comparisons of 11 drugs used to treat the condition.

The newer medications used to treat diabetes, such as thiazolidinediones rosiglitazone (Avandia, GlaxoSmithKline) and pioglitazone (Actos, Takeda), are no more effective or safe than older drugs used to treat the condition and are significantly more expensive. This, according to the recently released analysis by Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs. The report is based on findings from Johns Hopkins University researchers who analyzed 216 published studies of oral diabetes drugs. The report gives side-by-side comparisons of 11 drugs used to treat the condition. The three medications chosen as Best Buys were metformin, glipizide, and glimepiride-considered not only efficacious and safe, but also the best value for the money. These three drugs cost roughly $10 to $60 per month, according to the report, compared with $131 to $262 for rosiglitazone, $142 to $221 for pioglitazone, and $200 per month for sitagliptin (Januvia, Merck). The analysis was sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality and is available on-line at the