Medication and Diabetes

Understand how to manage your condition

Diabetes Medications

Making healthy food choices and getting regular exercise can keep your blood sugar in balance. But some people with type 2 diabetes need a little extra help from medication. If you have trouble reaching your recommended blood sugar target range, your doctor may prescribe oral medication. Here are some of the most common:

Metformin helps make your body more sensitive to insulin so it can use insulin better. It also lowers the amount of blood sugar released by the liver. It’s usually taken twice a day with a meal.

Sulfonylureas trigger the pancreas to release more insulin and therefore lower blood sugar after a meal and a few hours later. This is usually taken once or twice a day with a meal.

Meglitinides trigger the pancreas to quickly release more insulin right after a meal and must be taken with a meal.

DPP-4 inhibitors help reduce blood sugar levels. 

Statins are effective for lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, and promoting "good" cholesterol. This, in turn, promotes a healthy weight, which can have a direct impact on managing diabetes. 

Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) make the body more sensitive to insulin’s effects. They have a similar use as metformin but are not prescribed nearly as often.

Daily injections are required if your body isn’t producing enough insulin. Your doctor may prescribe a long-acting shot you take at night or a combination of different types of insulin throughout the day. An insulin pump is an alternative to needles or pens. Some women with type 2 diabetes are prescribed insulin during pregnancy.

People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day because their body doesn’t produce any. Insulin must be injected or delivered by an insulin pump. Some people with type 1 diabetes take medication before eating to help prevent blood sugar spikes.