One of the report’s authors, Prof John Yudkin, told the BBC: “What it means is if you’re someone with type-2, it’s your right to know what the benefits of the treatment are in terms of gain in life expectancy or reduction in heart attacks or going blind.
“And then you are entitled to decide, but not many doctors have got those figures to hand.”
He said GPs were too “target focussed” and were often looking only at the blood sugar level.
The findings do not apply to people with type-1 diabetes.
Balance neededCommenting on the report, Simon O’Neill, the director for health intelligence at Diabetes UK, said: “Sometimes there is a balance to be struck where certain medications might help give someone a longer life, but also cause side effects that might negatively impact on quality of life.
“This study highlights the importance of looking at the individual needs of the person with type-2 diabetes, rather than adopting a blanket approach.”
Patients are advised not to make any decisions without consulting their GP.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which advises the NHS on medication, said: “The current NICE guidance on the management of type-2 diabetes recognises that glycaemic [sugar] control targets should not impair a person’s quality of life as a result of the side effects of treatment.
“Where medication does not help achieve this target level, lifestyle therapies such as dietary advice should be offered.”
Refreshed guidelines are due to be published next summer.