Diabetes Treatment - Medications

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Medications for type 2 diabetes

WARNING: All the information below applies to patients who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. At present the only recommended way of controlling diabetes in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding is by diet, exercise and insulin therapy. You should speak with your doctor if you are taking these medications and are considering becoming pregnant or if you have become pregnant while taking these medications.

Based on what is known, medications for type 2 diabetes are designed to:

  1. increase the insulin output by the pancreas,
  2. decrease the amount of glucose released from the liver,
  3. increase the sensitivity (response) of cells to insulin,
  4. decrease the absorption of carbohydrates from the intestine, and
  5. slow emptying of the stomach to delay the presentation of carbohydrates for digestion and absorption in the small intestine.

When selecting therapy for type 2 diabetes, consideration should be given to:

  1. the magnitude of change in blood sugar control that each medication will provide;
  2. other coexisting medical conditions (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.);
  3. adverse effects of the therapy;
  4. contraindications to therapy;
  5. issues that may affect compliance (timing of medication, frequency of dosing); and
  6. cost to the patient and the health care system.

It's important to remember that if a drug can provide more than one benefit (lower blood sugar and have a beneficial effect on cholesterol, for example), it should be preferred. It's also important to bear in mind that the cost of drug therapy is relatively small compared to the cost of managing the long-term complications associated with poorly controlled diabetes.

Varying combinations of medications also are used to correct abnormally elevated levels of blood glucose in diabetes. As the list of medications continues to expand, treatment options for type 2 diabetes can be better tailored to meet an individuals needs. Not every patient with type 2 diabetes will benefit from every drug, and not every drug is suitable for each patient. Patients with type 2 diabetes should work closely with their physicians to achieve an approach that provides the greatest benefits while minimizing risks.

Patients with diabetes should never forget the importance of diet and exercise. The control of diabetes starts with a healthy lifestyle regardless of what medications are being used.

Return to Diabetes Treatment

See what others are saying

Comment from: Tina Lyn, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 26

I was Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2001 and started on Avandia, a statin and an anti hypertensive. For 10 years my Hgb A1C was at 6.1mmol, but then it krept up to 7.1. Also my weight gradually crept up. A year ago I was switched to Metformin 500 mg at suppertime. I requested Victoza a subcutaneous injectable. I wanted to seriously lose weight. My appetite reduced and I used the change to make some dietary adjustments and a year later I have lost 30lbs, gotten into good eating habits and hope to lose another 20 lbs. My Hgb A1C is now 5.2Mmol, which is normal. It would be nice to get the weight down to where I could manage with diet control. I am really pleased with the results from the Victoza.

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Comment from: 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 21

I am diabetic II patient from last 25 years and I take the following drugs - human insulin 30/70 20-15-15 units, Galvus 50 BD (twice daily), Eucreas 2 BD, voglibose 3 times daily. With all this medication my fasting sugar is ranging 370 to 415, more the insulin more the sugar. Metformin does not suit, it causes diarrhea. Pioglitazone causes edema.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


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