When you get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you might assume that the next step to help you control your blood sugar levels is insulin. But it isn’t always the necessary first option. Depending on your condition, you may have other options, including medications—or a combination of options—that are better for you.
Not ready for insulin yet? https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/6682x4470%2B18%2B0/resize/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F24%2Fc0%2F9b80510849e996ba777e1fed137a%2Fimage-gettyimages-514133643.jpg
This might be the best place to start. With a combination of dietary changes and a regular exercise routine, you may be able to successfully lose enough weight to get your diabetes under adequate control without having to take any additional medications. Aim for reducing your overall weight by at least 5%, and you may be very pleased with the results. However, there are also a number of medications that might also help you.
1. Weight Loss Strategies https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F21%2F5f%2F7a3e440641a9916da157587616a9%2F10-knee-6.jpg
Sulfonylureas are oral meds that are oldies-but-goodies—they’ve been used to help people with diabetes by triggering the pancreas’ beta cells to release more insulin. Today, you’re more likely to take a second-generation version of a sulfonylurea, although there is still one first-generation in use—chlorpropamide, sold as Diabinese. You do need to watch out for hypoglycemia as a side effect.
You probably know biguanide much better by another name: metformin. These meds lower your blood sugar level by decreasing the amount of glucose that your liver produces. When you take metformin, it makes your muscles more sensitive to insulin, which makes it easier for them to absorb glucose. Since it can cause diarrhea, you may want to take your twice-daily doses with a meal. Another drug taken by mouth, meglitinides can also work by stimulating the beta cells to release additional insulin. You take them before each of your three daily meals. As with sulfonylureas, you also should watch for signs of hypoglycemia, which can develop with the additional insulin in your bloodstream.
3. Other Familiar Oral Medications https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Ff6%2F82%2F90141cd24a27a8ecc2e0c26b7e7c%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-gettyimages-100534008-pill-in-hand.jpg
Ideally, your muscle and fat tissue would be able to use insulin effectively. But if they can’t, this class of oral medications can help. They can also help reduce glucose production in your liver, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). If you do take a drug like rosiglitazone, or Avandia, or pioglitazone, or Actos, don’t be surprised if your doctor closely monitors your liver function, since an earlier drug in this class caused some liver damage in some patients. However, if the drugs work for you, you’re unlikely to experience any other side effects.