Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes. Now the FDA is cautioning them not to fall for nonprescription products making false promises.

The agency has sent warning letters to the makers of about two dozen treatments being sold for blood sugar control. These are dietary supplements, Ayurvedic medicines and over-the-counter drugs. Some claim to replace medicine for treating diabetes, while others contain unapproved medicine such as phenformin, a diabetes drug that was banned in the U.S. decades ago. The FDA is concerned that people purchasing such products may not get appropriate and timely treatment for their diabetes and may also be subjected to side effects that are not disclosed by the packaging.

People who are interested in legitimate nondrug approaches to controlling diabetes may wish to listen to our hour-long interview with Dr. Richard Bernstein and Dr. Bill Polonsky. They describe many ways to remove obstacles to healthy living and tailor diet and daily activities for better blood sugar control.  We also discuss some of these in our Guide to Managing Diabetes.

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