The patient wants pills for his ills, and the doctor has little time but to dispense them. Thus the medical vicious cycle is established.
It's a relationship that serves neither party well. The patient won't get better, and the doctor is reduced to being a pill pusher, as a new study into type 2 diabetes confirms.
Type 2 diabetes is the ultimate lifestyle disease of modern times. As such it can be successfully treated by stopping the bad habits, and introducing new, beneficial ones, such as improved diet and exercise.
Despite these obvious remedies, doctors continue to look for a drug solution, possibly under pressure from the patient who doesn't want to change his diet or exercise more regularly.
One popular drug in the fight against diabetes is the ACE inhibitor ramipril, marketed as Tritace and Lopace, which is designed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart disease.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work. It failed to prevent diabetes in 17 per cent of the 2,623 participants with raised glucose levels, even after they had taken the drug for three years.
Strangely, the drug can prevent diabetes as a happy by-product in patients who take the drug for their heart problems.
Anyone for a change of diet?
(Source: New England Journal of Medicine, 2006; 355: 1551-62).
E-news broadcast 26 October 2006 No.304 [Subscribe]