Your doctor has told you it’s time to make a major switch in how you manage your type 2 diabetes. Making lifestyle changes alone is not enough. Now you must manage your type 2 with lifestyle tweaks plus medication. Don’t get angry or beat yourself up! You have not failed, nor shown weakness. Making this change is simply the next step in managing a progressive condition. Plus, taking medication may protect you from developing complications.
There are many different medications available to manage type 2 – we will list most of them below. Your GP will choose which is best for you. If you experience side effects, ask your doctor to review your medication. Are you taking several medications? You should also ask your pharmacist whether your diabetes tablets clash with each other, or with any other meds or supplements.
This is the most common pill prescribed for people with type 2. It helps people who carry too much weight and produce more insulin, but still have insulin resistance. Its main action is to make your cells more sensitive to insulin, hence lowering insulin resistance. It also reduces the amount of glucose the liver releases into the bloodstream.
Sulfonylureas boost the pancreas’s insulin production. These drugs may be added if and when metformin loses effectiveness.
You may be prescribed these oral meds if you experience side effects from more commonly dispensed drugs, such as metformin. They work by reducing insulin resistance in the body’s tissues.
Research suggests glitazones can also help lower blood pressure and increase your levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. They are new medicines and, while they have been tested in clinical trials, all the effects are not yet known.
These injectables mimic a hormone called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1), which we all produce after eating. This hormone lowers blood glucose levels (BGLs) by amplifying the production of insulin in response to food. They also reduce the amount of glucose sent out from the liver and slow the emptying of the stomach, reducing appetite.
These drugs inhibit an enzyme called DPP-4, which breaks down the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1. Their use results in a small rise in the level of GLP-1. They are not as powerful as GLP-1 agonists at reducing glucose levels.
These oral drugs may be taken alone or combined with other meds and are becoming more widely prescribed. They prevent the kidneys from reabsorbing glucose into the blood. Instead, the excess glucose is excreted through urine.
These oral meds help people whose blood glucose levels are highest after eating certain carbohydrates, and work by slowing down the digestion and absorption of these carbs.