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Drugs. 1996 Jun;51(6):931-41.

Drug therapy of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in the elderly.

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St Louis V.A. Medical Center, Missouri, USA.


Non-insulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM) is a common problem in the elderly. The discovery of several classes of oral antidiabetic agents has increased the prospects of achieving better control of hyperglycaemia with reduced risk of severe adverse events. Some of these agents, such as acarbose or miglitol, do not cause hypoglycaemia and act locally in the gut. As such they are safer agents. On the other hand, the low cost of some sulphonylurea agents and a once or twice daily administration schedule make them an attractive option. Metformin appears to be especially useful in obese insulin-resistant patients with NIDDM. However, obesity is not as much of a problem in the elderly as it is in middle-aged patients, and contraindications to the use of metformin are common in the elderly. The use of a combination of 2 or 3 oral antidiabetic agents to delay the need for insulin therapy is now possible. The long term effects of this approach are not known and the cost of polypharmacy is of concern.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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