The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to consumers to be wary of diabetes treatments that promise to prevent, treat, and even cure diabetes.
The organization warns consumers not to purchase or use these products, as they may contain harmful ingredients and be unsafe to use. Some of the treatments are being marketed as over-the-counter products when they should be marketed as a prescription product and they also carry an additional risk if they cause people with diabetes to delay or quit their effective diabetes treatments.
“People with chronic or incurable diseases may feel desperate and become easy prey. Bogus products for diabetes are particularly troubling because there are effective options available to help manage this serious disease rather than exposing patients to unproven and risky products,” Dr. Gary Coody, national health fraud coordinator for the FDA, said. “Failure to follow well-established treatment plans can lead to, among other things, amputations, kidney disease, blindness and death.”
The FDA has already sent out over a dozen letters to companies selling the illicit diabetes treatments warning them that they are violating federal law.
The products are often sold as dietary supplements; alternative medicines, prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs, including homeopathic products.
Examples of claims from these illegally marketed products include:
- “Lower your blood sugar naturally.”
- “Lowers A1C levels significantly.”
- “You’ll lower your chances of having eye disease, kidney disease, nerve damage and heart disease!”
- “It can replace medicine in the treatment of diabetes.”
- “For Relief of Diabetic Foot Pain.”
The FDA tested products marketed as “all natural” treatments for diabetes and discovered some of them contained one or more active ingredients found in prescription drugs to treat type 2 diabetes.
These undeclared ingredients can cause serious harm to people who do not know what they are taking and are unable to tell their physician what they are taking.
Health care professionals and consumers are encouraged to report any adverse events related to products intended to treat or cure diabetes to FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:
- online at www.fda.gov/Medwatch/report.htm;
- by phone at 800-FDA-1088 (800-332-1088); or,
- by returning FDA form 3500, available on the MedWatch “Download Forms” page by mail to the address on the pre-addressed form or by fax at 800-FDA-0178.