Diabetes Treatments: FDA Alerts of Illegal Sales

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2013-08-06 07:10:56 -0500
Started 2013-07-24 06:30:45 -0500

The title of this article sounds okay until you start to read what they are considering "Illegal".
Here is an excerpt from the WebMD article: http://www.drugs.com/fda/diabetes-treatments-...
To date, the FDA is not aware of any reports of injury or illness associated with the illegally sold products, but is taking action to protect the public health from potential harm related to these violative products.

These illegally sold products include:

Products sold as “natural” treatments for diabetes, but containing undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients in unknown quantities that could cause harm or complicate medical conditions

Dietary supplements and ayurvedic products (medicine of the healing arts that originated in India) with claims to treat, cure, and/or prevent diabetes

Unapproved drugs sold over-the-counter, including some homeopathic products, intended to treat complications associated with diabetes, which include relieving symptoms caused by nerve damage in the arms and legs (also called peripheral neuropathy)

Prescription drugs for diabetes sold by online pharmacies without a prescription.

As a person who seeks to take care of my diabetes with the aid of natural and holistic medicines, this is very frightening to me. The crack down, without any "reports of harm" is not something that I personally think is right. There are more law suits against "legal" drugs such as Actos, Byetta, Januvia, and many other injectibles than there are against the "illegal" items sold.

This article has me seeing red. Perhaps its because big pharma wants to see more green. What do you think?

19 replies

Kats49 2013-07-28 15:58:14 -0500 Report

We as consumers will always have to be advocates for our own health, where we are buying online or as a patient in a hospital. I have found tremendous help with alternative medicines in controlling my side effects from the traditional medicines. If i did have a VERY good and ethical chiropractor giving me acupuncture treatments for my arthritis…I wouldn't be typing this right now. I think the articles was talking more about the claims of curing rather than treating diabetes which is illegal. I have to rely on alternative medicine for several reasons…homeopathic medicines do not have side effects. You cannot overdose on them. I have a metabolic disorder, so I have to follow a very different diet for myself. I use to weigh 378 pd. i am down to 350 …it took me four months to lose that weight. my sugars are better than they have ever been in 6 years.I feel I have control over my diseases that will never be cured. The answer is with me…not in the medicines

Type1Lou 2013-07-27 17:29:07 -0500 Report

I agree with you Gabby that we have a duty and responsibility to ourselves to become informed consumers. There may be tremendous benefits in non-Western medical approaches which should not be discounted. I had a friend who was an endodontist and he actually used acupuncture in his very successful practice. He was open-minded enough to recognize that it might be beneficial in certain cases.

Brittany D
Brittany D 2013-07-24 23:51:17 -0500 Report

I think the issue is that they are claiming that those products CURE or "treat" diabetes and associated conditions. If they didn't claim that on the packaging or website or other material it wouldn't be an issue. So, say that Alpha Lipoic Acid was a product a company was selling and it had "cures neuropathy" on the packaging, yes that is illegal. BUT if that packaging said nothing about curing it or treating it then it's legal. You can buy anything online or in stores such as ALA or vitamin B6 but if it says something that the FDA has not approved for said drug then they consider it illegal. They aren't preventing us from buying ALA to treat our neuropathy but they are preventing drug companies from claiming they cure diseases that the drugs haven't been clinically proven to cure or treat. I see nothing wrong with what the FDA is doing. You always have unsuspecting folks who don't do their research and buy scam products such as green coffee bean extract and expect to lose 100 pounds by taking it. They are protecting those ignorant people from spending their money on products that have not been proven effective.

niceluckylady 2013-08-06 04:21:40 -0500 Report

Have you found that ALA helped your neuropathy? What dosage?

GabbyPA 2013-08-06 07:10:56 -0500 Report

Yes it helps me a lot. I take 600 mg in the AM and then 600 before I go to bed. It has helped me sleep much better. In fact, I have been out of it for about a month and my feet are starting to really bother me again. I need to get more.

GabbyPA 2013-07-25 09:06:22 -0500 Report

Perhaps ignorance need not be protected. Innocent, yes. Ignorance, not so much. You cannot protect people from themselves.

I agree in that "cures", and "diabetic labels" to make a buck is wrong, but what ever happened to our sense of skepticism and our curiosity to know the truth. Specially now, with information so readily available. Our ability to make a decision based on far more personal research is out there.

It comes down to truth in labeling and we have laws for that. That is what should be imposed. Not the making of these things illegal. But how they market them needs to be in the law. Have you ever looked at a "zero trans fat" labeled product only to find it has trans fats listed in it? The loop hole is how much. So people who don't read the actual ingredients or nutritional values are mislead. People have to be smarter than that.

I have a friend who is selling sugar blockers through one of those online deals. So he asked me to try it for a month so I could tell him how it worked. He said that all his customers used it to help with weight loss and to prevent sugar spikes if they ate a high carb meal. So I tried it. It didn't work, but maybe it was because I didn't believe it would. Maybe it was because I try not to eat high carb meals. I told him it didn't work and he said I was the only person it didn't work for. Well, I don't believe that either. I am sure it works for some folks, but for me, it didn't. I suffered no side effects from it (unless I had paid for the bottle, then I would have suffered "sucker syndrome")

I do believe that there are many things out there that can help us that we don't know about because we depend too much on the medical advice of doctors who are taught a narrow way of thinking.

Thinking outside the box is important to me and to many people and I don't want those choices to go away under the guise of "protecting the public". We have enough of that in other areas of our lives. There comes a point where we have to take responsibility for our own actions and choices.

Brittany D
Brittany D 2013-07-25 10:08:43 -0500 Report

I agree that there are products out there that have not been discovered yet that could help us. I understand where you are coming from saying that people need to be smarter in their decisions and do the research. I know a few people who don't do that and they have gotten scammed out of money repeatedly. I find it sad that they don't do their due diligence. I guess since I was practically born using a computer and I am very technologically adept I am able to do what it takes to research the things I am interested in, but many people are not adept at using computers or the internet to do that, even people my age (late 20's). I see my mom struggle with "computer problems" when it's generally that she isn't paying attention to error messages or warnings. My friend who is 29 years old (same age as I am) struggles with computers as well and thinks she knows a lot about computers and how the internet works but really she is no better than my mom at using one. Many people just don't have what it takes mentally to learn some things. Those are the people who generally are being taken advantage of by companies who claim their product cures diseases. Those are the companies who should be fined and whose products should be prevented from being sold. If company A claimed their product X would cure diseases yet company B had the same product yet did not claim that I would still prefer company B's products and hope that company A's products would be banned - yet not the ingredients in the product. It would be like selling an antivirus product that claims to protect against viruses and all malware yet it did nothing of the sort - that product should be taken down and not sold to the public.

I guess it's a double-edged sword. I can see how there should be practically no regulation like that to protect our freedoms but I hate the idea of that happening because it's unethical and possibly dangerous. I'm just glad my mother usually comes to me to research things for her now. At least she isn't jumping the gun and buying acai berry through a scam website again.

GabbyPA 2013-07-28 07:35:57 -0500 Report

That is true. My mom struggles too. But there are many outlets that can help. One of my favorite sounding boards is my pharmacist. She has no problem looking things up for me to explain what I can and cannot mix. She's great. And I do have to admit, she's unique. But she genuinely wants people to be well and helps out. I appreciate her so much.

jigsaw 2013-07-24 18:51:35 -0500 Report

I have believed this to be the truth for years. If it is natural, it can't be patented.
I believe natural treatments can be safe, if one is informed, and discussing their treatment with a professional such as a Naturapathic doctor (ND). They may not use FDA approved meds, but there is plenty of info and studies showing their efficacy and safety. Either way, it's all big business $$$, and that's why we must be careful with our choices. I believe that one must do a reasonable amount of research, in order to make a wise decision regarding any kind of treatment..

Brittany D
Brittany D 2013-07-24 23:57:52 -0500 Report

I fully agree. I got that email from the FDA since I am on their newsletter lists. I'm glad they are cracking down on companies who claim their products "cure" these uncurable (so far) diseases. I have no problem with people taking natural supplements and homeopathic medicines as I know that for some people they help whatever they are treating.

I had bacterial infections for over a year and a half in my big toes and recently tried taking turmeric pills to help heal them. It helped tremendously but I had to quit taking them because my period lasted 3 full weeks. I quit taking them and 2 days later my period stopped completely. I wonder if I have fibroids, that could have caused the bleeding and then the blood thinning effect of turmeric could have exacerbated it. Anyway… I do feel that there has to be some regulation on how products are marketed since a lot of people do not do their research on products and only go by what the label says. People wanting to cure their diabetes or neuropathy (or whatever disease) pick up a bottle and take it without learning about drug interactions and side effects and assume that product will cure them. If they aren't going to take the steps necessary to learn about the products they will take the government has to step in. Now, if they banned all homeopathic or natural remedies for diseases and conditions then yes I'd be ticked and do whatever I could to stop them from doing that. But until that happens I have no problem with them preventing companies from taking advantage of people.

GabbyPA 2013-07-25 09:15:10 -0500 Report

I agree in that too much of even a good thing is bad. But it goes on in the medical field as well. I am on Lisinopril and I was never told not to eat grapefruit while on it. I love grapefruit and often would eat one a day in season. I found out on WebMD in the interactions listing that I should not be doing that. When I spoke to my doctor about it, he said that was correct. Now that is something he didn't think to tell me and I didn't realize I should ask. My research found that out for me and when it was shared here, many people told me they knew...but there were many who didn't. http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-discussions/general/2523-blood-pressure-meds-and-grapefruits

What we put in or on our bodies, whether regulated or not, is up to us to know what it is, what it does, and how we may react. That goes for prescriptions, otc, supplements, foods and drinks. The onus is ours. Choose trusted people to talk to like your pharmacist to help you.

Nick1962 2013-07-24 15:05:08 -0500 Report

The article you linked to glosses over one significant point – some of the drugs sold as “natural” actually contained undisclosed prescription drugs making them anything but “natural” or “holistic”

From this link: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57595135/...
“………One of the drugs, Diexi, which is sold as a traditional Indian "herbal formula," actually contains metformin, the most common prescription drug used to treat diabetes. The product is sold by Amrutam Life Care, of Surat, India…….”

For someone like me, Diexi would cause harm, and although there may have been no "reports of harm" thus far, I don’t want to be the first.

The FDA is cracking down on drugs and supplements that don’t meet our criteria or standards either for “natural” substances or legally recognized prescription drugs in the US. They are not targeting proven medicines and remedies.

GabbyPA 2013-07-25 08:47:39 -0500 Report

And I agree. There are things that I know are scams or things that would harm me as well. For something to be proven, it has to be used. If it is not regulated, then the use has to come from their tests and our use. We are willing to be guinea pigs for the FDA to use their approved drugs that later are proven to do more harm than good. And there is no recourse against them as there would be in a private company.

Yes the article did mention that non-disclosed items and I agree, that full disclosure needs to be on the package. How else can we make an educated decision if things are "conveniently" left out. But again the answer is to make them disclose the ingredients. Now, they have a lot of loop holes even for approved drugs, supplements and foods. Take away the loop holes for everyone.

Nick1962 2013-07-25 09:31:04 -0500 Report

Well, what I'm taking away from this crackdown is the FDA is trying to make sure that products live up to their claims and be safe. I don't see it as a broad-brush effort to control an industry or deny anyone of choices.
Frankly, it upsets me when the conspiracy theorists claim that "Big Pharma" , who actually researches their product for efficacy, is profiting from our conditions when there snake oil sellers making just as much in a predatory fashion by throwing weed dust in a pill and calling it a miracle cure.
This is one of the biggest reasons I am so anti-supplement. If simple cinnamon were so effective at reducing blood sugar levels, there would be a "Big Cinnamon". Millions are spent on cinnamon pills yearly, yet diabetes continues to rise. The stuff clearly doesn't work and I think the time has come to stop preying on the hopeful.

GabbyPA 2013-07-28 07:50:36 -0500 Report

First, let me say that research says that cinnamon helps maintain healthy blood sugars, it doesn't reduce it. So you are right there, people must read the fine print. But on most bottles of it sold, you will see that it states just that. We just like to read the big label that says it's for diabetics.

It is all revolving around money, you are right be it big pharma or big supplement or big scams. Sadly that part cannot be changed. We are consumers and they know it.

I was reading in WebMD's June newsletter where they were taking a piece from Global Public Health that was a study how countries who are introducing high fructose corn syrup into foods are seeing increased cases of diabetes without really increasing the calorie intake. 43 countries were in the study and 23 used little or no HFC and 20 consumed larger quantities. Example, Germany consumes about 1 pound per year per person of HFC, where the United states consumes about 55 pounds per person per year. We have approx a 20% higher rate of diabetes. This is approved by the FDA too.

So where do we turn for any truth? It's hard. As long as there is a desperation to find a fix, there will be snake oil that offers it. Some of it is regulated snake oil, and some is not. The real point is that you have to be careful no matter which you choose to use. What I don't want is to loose my choice.

Nick1962 2013-07-28 18:45:51 -0500 Report

Oh I agree that feeding one’s self these days practically takes a medical degree. This is what makes the Paleo style diet effective. It gives us the necessary nutrients we need without things like HFC, supplements or other outside medicinal aids. That’s why I like it – no thinking and little research involved. Through the last 5 blood panels I’ve had done, I have 2 consistent deficiencies that I won’t be able to “eat my way” out of. A simple, tested, and consistently controlled multi-vitamin cures that.

I know how sensitive you are to maintain your freedom of choice, but I’ve read this FDA crackdown news report now from 5 different sources, and I’m sorry Gabby, I’m just not seeing how it’s going to limit those freedoms. If anything I would think it’s making those choices easier. Did I miss something?

Just a counterpoint on cinnamon though….. Cassia cinnamon does have glucose lowering effects. A dose just over 5,000 mg before a OGTT will skew the results enough to read negative for someone with moderate Type 2. This dose is also equivalent to the effects of Metformin (but I think 5,000 mg of cinnamon is toxic). Trouble is, the same dose of Ceylon has no effect. Why? The answer may be a toxic substance called Coumarin found in the Cassia and not in the Ceylon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coumarin. 1000mg./day of Cassia will “maintain” blood sugar levels in people “with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes (hemoglobin A1C levels greater than 7 percent).” Citation – Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes/AN0...
This video addresses it also http://nutritionfacts.org/video/update-on-cin...
Right now, I’d be scared to put cinnamon in anything.

GabbyPA 2013-07-31 05:38:54 -0500 Report

Ok, then maybe I have over reacted. I just get very nervous when there is any messing around with the FDA. Not my favorite department at all. But it has given us a good look into some possibilities both good and bad.

Yes, the difference in the Cassia and Ceylon Cinnamon is the issue, There is also the possibility of ulcers from using too much. Holistic is not a "green light to do as much as you want". It really does boil down to research and a bit of common sense.

IronOre 2013-07-24 12:19:26 -0500 Report

the way you wrote this is a bit confusing to me . . .
So are you for or against illegally sold products ?
Should somebody die first before they become illegal ?
If they don't work at helping diabetes, should they be illegal ?

GabbyPA 2013-07-25 08:30:26 -0500 Report

I think my main issue is that they are taking away the ability for me to have a choice. I don't regulate what grows in my garden, but I know it's better than gmo or frankenfoods which are approved and regulated by the FDA.

The same with herbal or natural remedies or aids. I am not saying that they are considered automatically safe, and you do have to do your research. But if they start making unregulated items illegal, I loose some of my choices.

Being educated is the biggest thing in either camp. There are FDA approved things I will not use, ever. Just as there are natural things that I would never use either. I just want to have the choice to use what works for me.

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