A new study of a range of treatments for type 2 diabetes has found that Metformin could be the most effective first-line option, due to it having fewer side effects than the alternatives available. The research, into six different types of oral diabetes medications, showed that the drugs all reduced levels of blood sugar in the body by about the same amount, but that Metformin had less side effects and was cheaper because it is older and available in a generic form.
With side effects from oral diabetes drugs that lower blood sugar levels including hypoglycaemia and gastrointestinal problems, it is recommended that patients starting the drugs should only take a low dose to being with, and also to make sure they take it with a meal.
The research, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, assessed a total of 166 studies involving six separate classes of drug: Metformin, such as Glucophage and Fortamet, sulfonylureas, such as Amaryl and Glucotrol, thiazolidinediones, such as Avandia and Actos, meglitinides, such as Starlix and Prandi, DPP-4 inhibitors, such as Januvia and Onglyza, and GLP-1 receptor agonists, which include Byetta and Victoza .
The majority of the drug treatments were seen to lower haemoglobin A1C levels, a measure of long-term blood sugar control, by one percentage point. It was also found that adding a second medication can improve blood sugar management, however, no particular combination of medications seemed to give significant benefits over another.

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