Cost of Diabetes Drugs Skyrockets for Americans

oakleif(z6 AR)October 27, 2008

I'm one of those who can't afford diabetic meds.

If i lived in any other industrial country i could afford to take medicine i am denied here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cost of Diabetes Drugs Skyrockets for Americans

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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

If you read the article it is about Newer drugs costing more than the old ones, the new drugs cost a lot of money to develop and if you don't want the benefits of that new development the older drugs are still being produced.

Socialized medicine is however a political issue completely unrelated to herbalism, and since herbalism doesn't have much in the way of answers for diabetes I don't know as if this topic really belongs all that much, Cinnamon I guess.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2008 at 2:41AM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

See how caring bren is to anyone with a health problem ? He represents the medical community on this forum. He definately don't know anything about herbs? He said he wants to shoot all herbalists and he does'nt know any herbs good for diabetis,like bilberry and for sure sweetpotato,blueberry.
Why is he here? To get his jollys by scaring people,ranting about herbs, being generally unpleasant.
BTW The reason i'm here is because i did'nt know much about herbs and wanted to ask a question and got ranted at by medics when i knew as m
uch about medicine as they did. So i decided to rid this forum of the medical vermin.because why should medics want to ursup a forum for themselves unless they were kinda sick. I will be here as long as they are,Trying to keep them honest.
And i've learned some about herbs in the meantime.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 2:12AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

I didn't mention your individual issues because I figured you didn't want me involved in your personal affairs. I read the article you linked too and commented on it, if you wish to see me showing sympathy look at the appetite stimulant thread, where I recommended baby food to a gentlemen who had been unable to eat and encouraged him. I hope you are able to figure out how the get the medicine you need to stay healthy.

Could you link to where I said that? Or post a quote from me? I distinctly remember saying something that didn't involve my motivation or wishes at all.

Also I will agree that I don't know much about herbs (I do know things like the fact that blueberry and bilberry are close relatives, and not herbs but berries off of a woody plant, doesn't mean that they aren't medicinal) what I do understand are things like microbiology, and mycology and the physiological processes occurring in much of the body. I also know how to read scientific literature (which is more of an issue with apolog than with yourself, I don't believe I've seen you link to any peer reviewed literature) and can as a result suss out things that other people miss. I also know a good deal about experimental design and statistics, and logic.

All I want to do is to use reason and logic and evidence to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 3:50AM
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This thread, as short as it is, is a perfect example of why I rarely post in the Herbalism forum these days. To see two extremists exchanging insults is NOT my idea of the sort of thing that should be happening in a forum intended to be informative.

Certainly, there is no place for politics here either! However, it's nothing short of scandalous that a country as wealthy as the US should have so little concern for the health and well-being of its people. I can be smug about it, you see, because I live in Australia where diabetics are very well looked after with all products heavily subsidised by the government.

But on the issue of conventional medicine versus herbal medicine for diabetes, let me try to inject a little balance.

First, Brendan, you need to arrive at some sort of definition for 'a herb'. Opinions vary, but broadly speaking, if a plant, or part of a plant, has any uses to humans for the following purposes, it can be classified as 'a herb': medicinal, nutritional, cosmetic, pesticidal, culinary. Many herbs have multiple uses, and many of those uses are outside these 'categories'. Think of flax, for instance, which produces seeds which have medicinal, nutritional and culinary uses - but other parts of the plant can be used for making cloth. Some herbs are used to produce dyes, or poisons (eg for killing fish making them easy to catch), or to produce musical instruments or building materials. So the term 'herb' is a very broad umbrella indeed.

The berries you refer to are not only used for culinary purposes, but they have also been well researched and proven to have beneficial medicinal effects. Let's face it, every doctor knows the medicinal function of certain components in foods (herbs) - vitamins, minerals etc. These are undeniable! These medicinal benefits were known long, long before the word 'vitamin' was invented!

Back to the question of herbs to treat diabetes. There are quite a few herbs which can regulate blood sugar levels, and/or help prevent macular degeneration, and/or boost the ability of insulin to metabolise glucose, and/or counter insulin shock, and/or increase production of insulin (in short - to help restore normal bodily function in people with diabetes in various ways). Some of these herbs are listed below:

Ginkgo biloba, watercress, banana, cucumber, dandelion, sage, starfruit, agrimony, parsley, blueberries, mandarines, grapeseed oil, mango, lychees, spinach, fenugreek, paprika.

The difficulty with using herbal treatments for any condition, especially a difficult one like diabetes, is finding the effective dosage for each individual patient while keeping in mind the multiple uses of any herbs included in the treatment regime. As with conventional medicine, care must be taken to consider unwanted side-effects, contraindications, interactions etc.

The greatest benefit of conventional medication is the comparative ease of giving beneficial dosages. It's also much easier to administer, and to monitor a drug, than a combination of herbs.

The difficulty for some diabetic patients, as Oakleif pointed out, is that the cost of conventional medicines is beyond the reach of 'ordinary' people in many cases; whereas many of the herbs useful for diabetics can be grown in any garden, or purchased at the supermarket at a reasonable and affordable cost.

It is sad that so many people cannot afford vital medications; and that herbal medicine is such an imprecise science. Here we have two methods of treatment - surely they can go hand in hand with each other, even when dealing with such a serious condition as diabetes?

You see, many medical practitioners are unaware that many (perhaps as much as 85%, but don't quote me on that figure) of the drugs they prescribe are derived from, or synthesised copies of components of, herbs (plants). And many people who insist that 'natural' medicines are the only safe way to go do not realise that the plants they are using contain many of the same chemical components that are in conventional medications.

THAT's what I think 'separating the wheat from the chaff' really means!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 5:14PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

I don't have time to reply to all of your post right now, but really quickly I'd like to say that I think given the vitriolic posts lodged against me that I have done very well not hurling insults and sticking to the subject matter at hand; I truly believe that the hostility prevalent in so many posts was typed in by other people. I'd also like to point out that every doctor I've ever talked to about it has freely acknowledged that the drugs largely come from plants, and that I have said that (not put a number on it)several times in this forum.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 5:58PM
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A few questions for daisyduckworth: as an herbalist, what percentage of diabetic patients that you see have their blood sugar adequately controlled and normal bodily function restored by a combination of the herbs you listed, and how do you determine this? Have insulin-dependent diabetics been able to forego insulin through such an herbal regimen? Or are you referring to a subset of type II diabetics who'd otherwise have their disease managed conventionally through a combination of diet, exercise and possibly prescription medication? What studies do you point prospective patients to that you feel back the treatment plans you provide?

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 7:41PM
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Eric - I am neither a herbalist nor an expert on diabetes, and I am well past the age of retirement anyway - and a sufferer of Type 2 diabetes, amongst other things.

The answers to your questions are no doubt to be found in relevant research papers, and on the internet.

According to my specialist, Type 2 diabetes is infrequently treated with insulin. I would suggest that it would be common-sense for insulin-dependent diabetics to continue using insulin, and not rely entirely on herbal treatments, which may or may not be successful, depending on the severity of a person's condition.

Whichever treatment regime is offered, diabetes is notoriously difficult to treat, and there is certainly no cure for it.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 9:54PM
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Thanks for the clarification - I had gotten the idea you were or had worked at some point as an herbalist, based in part on your frequent statements here over the years that people should consult herbalists professionally rather than trying to use herbs without such guidance.

As to your contention that "The greatest benefit of conventional medication is the comparative ease of giving beneficial dosages" and "There are quite a few herbs which can regulate blood sugar levels, restore normal bodily function in people with diabetes", this gives the impression that herbs can do the same (or better)* job as prescription drugs in treating diabetes. I know of no good evidence that this is the case - in particular I'm not aware of any well-conducted studies that've followed diabetics over long periods and found that herbal treatment worked as well as mainstream therapies in controlling blood sugar and preventing serious and potentially lethal complications. Even if the condition involved is non-insulin dependent diabetes (thanks for acknowledging that you believe insulin can be critically important in treatment of some forms of the disease), it would be quite risky for patients to assume that various combinations of herbs will do the job, especially in the absence of careful monitoring of blood sugar and other evaluation by a physician.

This is not to say that some herbal therapy, in combination with standard proven methods, can't be used to help treat diabetes with proper oversight. And cost of treatment can be an issue (the answer there is not to substitute possibly cheaper but unproven remedies, but to make effective therapy available to all who need it).

*Not even diabetes experts would claim that normalizing blood sugar through diet, exercise and medication in addition to careful monitoring can completely restore normal organ function and prevent any long-term damage.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2008 at 1:03AM
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By the way, estimates quoted by various sources as to what percentage of prescription drugs are plant-derived diverge widely. Ethnobotanist James Duke in a 1993 article said it would be correct to state that "25% of modern prescription drugs contain at least one compound now or once derived or patterned after compounds derived from higher plants." Depending on what definitions one uses, the percentage of such drugs that have some sort of connection with compounds originally found in plants can go considerably higher.

Regardless of the exact numbers, plants will continue to be a source of effective and exciting new drugs.

*debates of other contentions in Dr. Duke's article would make for one or more additional threads of interest in this forum.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2008 at 1:25AM
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