FDA Cracks Down Over-The-Counter Diabetes Medications - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

FDA Cracks Down Over-The-Counter Diabetes Medications

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MISSOULA -

The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on more than a dozen companies that market illegal treatments for diabetes.

The 15 companies, both in the U.S. and abroad, that are marketing products, the FDA said, aim to cash in on the country's diabetes epidemic, affecting almost 26 million Americans.

"The main concern is that these pharmaceutical medications are available over the counter, and there's risks with them," said MD, MPH John Miller, the medical director at Partnership Health in Missoula. 

The FDA is looking at products ranging from dietary supplements they say are bogus, to prescription drugs being sold online without a prescription. Miller said to be on the look our for products as an "herbal" or "all-natural" alternative.

"In general a lot of medications have a lot of different things in there, and in a lot of cases, those things are available on the label," Miller said.

The FDA said many products marketed as "natural", falsely claim to treat or prevent diabetes. Miller said before buying "all-natural" products check the labels to find out what's in them.

"It's something to look out for when people are looking for herbal medications for whatever reason," he said.

Miller added the two most important medications to be on the look out for claim to lower blood sugar- metformin, and even more importantly glyburide.

"You can have low blood sugar that can cause dizziness, sweating and even unconsciousness, and in very rare cases people can die from taking them.

Miller said the products should not be harmful if taken with a physician's permission.

FDA regulators said they don't know of any cases of injury or illness connected with the products, but they are taking action as a precautionary measure.

The companies can be taken to court if they don't respond to the FDA's warnings.

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