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New Spanish-language consumer guide compares oral diabetes medications

Pastillas para la diabetes tipo 2, a new consumer guide for Hispanic adults who have type 2 diabetes and need information to help them compare various oral medications for their illness, has been released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Diabetes is one of the most serious health issues facing Hispanics in the United States. AHRQ data show that nearly one in eight Hispanics take a prescription drug for diabetes.

The guide organizes comparative research results according to diabetes patients' concerns and questions and assists them in using research results when talking with health care professionals about their diabetes medicines. It compares 10 generic and 13 brand-name diabetes medications and explains how each works to lower blood sugar, which of them may increase body weight, which may cause side effects such as stomach problems or swelling, and each pill's potential effect on "bad" and "good" cholesterol.

The guide also warns patients to be alert for problems such as hypoglycemia—too-low blood sugar—which can be caused by certain diabetes pills, as well as other potential side effects. In addition, the guide provides an easy-to-understand comparison of the dose and average cost of each generic and brand-name diabetes medication and the appropriate dose when taken in combination. Information in the guide is based on the recent AHRQ-funded report, Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Oral Diabetes Medications for Adults with Type 2 Diabetes. That report, based on scientific evidence found in 216 published studies, summarizes the effectiveness, risks, and estimated costs for 10 diabetes medications. It was produced by AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program, an ongoing Federal initiative that compares alternative treatments for health conditions. The program is intended to help patients, doctors, nurses, and others choose the most effective treatments.

Pastillas para la diabetes tipo 2, the English-language version, Pills for Type 2 Diabetes, and other publications from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program for consumers and clinicians can be found online at http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov. The consumer guides can be ordered free of charge from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

Editor's Note: For information on a new, nationwide campaign in Spanish to encourage more adults to visit their doctors for preventive health care to help identify and treat diabetes and other conditions, go to http://www.ahrq.gov/superheroes.

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