6 Tips for Talking to Your Diabetes Doctor About Non-Insulin Injectables
Starting a non-insulin injectable medication can sound about as much fun as, well, getting a shot. As with any diabetes treatment, you may have concerns and questions: How often do I have to do it? Will it make me sick? Do I still need to watch what I eat? Do I need insulin, too? These are all good questions and things you should discuss with your doctor to help ease your concerns and to help understand the benefits of using a non-insulin injectable.
Give it a shot. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/5600x3746%2B15%2B0/resize/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fb4%2Fde%2F5378e63e4511875fa7d8e3c449e9%2Fimage-gettyimages-530530282.jpg
If you have type 2 diabetes, and lifestyle changes are not enough to control your blood sugar, your doctor may suggest non-insulin injections. They are designed to reduce sugar production in the liver and slow the absorption of food, and are generally tried before insulin therapy is prescribed. There are two main categories of non-insulin agents - amylins and incretins, and knowing how they work can help you determine if it’s best for you.
1. First, find out how the injectables work. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/722x483%2B2%2B0/resize/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F62%2F7e%2Fabebe609496093356fa2c0507674%2Fimage-doctor-talking-with-patient-182657690.jpg
The most common side effects with non-insulin injectables are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea and low blood sugar. Some people lose weight and some have headaches. More uncommon side effects include pancreatitis, hives or other allergic reactions, and forming antibodies to the medication. See your doctor if you have severe abdominal pain that won’t go away, or notice any lumps, swelling of the neck, hoarseness or trouble swallowing. Rarely, taking these medications can lead to thyroid cancer if you are predisposed.
2. Ask about side effects. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F03%2F02%2F50cfcee94d909f0a5065dc4d5ad1%2F189529.jpg
Some non-insulin injectables are not yet approved by the FDA for patients using insulin. The risk of hypoglycemia can be greater when the two treatments are combined. If you are treated with insulin (or considering taking insulin), ask your doctor if your dose needs to be decreased before starting a non-insulin injectable. Also let your doctor know if you have any other symptoms, such as abdominal pain or nausea.