By V. Mohan, Diabetes Specialties Centre and Madras Diabetes Research Foundation
In India, it is generally believed that modern scientific medicines (or “allopathic medicines,” as scientific medicines are called in India) in general–and anti-diabetic drugs in particular–have a lot of side effects and hence should not be taken for long periods of time. I have never really understood how this false belief came about, but it’s quite deeply entrenched in our community. This probably stems from the fact that the ancient Indian systems of medicine such as Ayurveda and Siddha use plant based/herbal products which people perceive to be “safe.” On the other hand, many of these same people believe that modern scientific medicines are believed to be “chemicals” which can cause side effects, if taken for years. Few people realize that plants are also chemicals and that, conversely, many modern scientific medicines are derived from plant products.
Continue reading to learn more about the major classes of antidiabetic drugs and insights on what evidence we have that long-term use of these drugs is safe.