Comparing Diabetes Treatment Options: Medications for Type 2 Diabetes

Medication can help people who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when diet and exercise improvements are not enough.

Many people find that the first thing they are told to do when they are diagnosed is to lose weight. Even if you are 10 or 20 pounds overweight and are not considered to be obese, losing weight can help stabilize your glucose level.

Sometimes weight loss means that a newly diagnosed diabetes patient does not need to take medication for the disease. Along with weight control, newly diagnosed diabetics also need to eat a balanced diet that has all of the food groups in balanced proportions.

Each person has different circumstances regarding diabetes, and every person with the disease needs to have a diabetes treatment plan, according to the American Diabetes Association. Blood sugar that is not stabilized can result in heart disease, blindness, or other serious medical conditions.

Medication Options Available for Type 2 Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are six different categories of diabetes medications that may be prescribed for patients. Sulfonylureas are one of these groups that have been used since the 1950s. These medications all work to control blood sugar levels, but their have different side effects and can interact with other medications. Biguanides, such as Metformin, are a popular diabetic medication that many type 2 diabetics take to control their blood sugar. Meformin works by decreasing the amount of glucose made by the liver, and it also helps muscles to absorb insulin more readily. This drug is usually taken two times each day. Diarrhea is a common side effect, but it is often controlled when the drug is taken with food.

Meglitines are drugs that stimulate beta cells to release insulin, and they are taken before each of three meals. Diabetics may be advised to avoid drinking alcohol when taking this medication since it can interact with alcohol to cause a low blood glucose level. Thiazolidinediones are one of the other groups of drugs that help insulin in the body work more efficiently in the muscle and fat. They also reduce glucose production in the liver. One drug in this group was removed from the market because of serious liver problems found in some patients who took the drug, Rezulin. The drugs Avandia and ACTOS are still on the market, but anyone who takes them must be monitoried closely to be sure that liver problems are not developing. Although these drugs are efficient at
reducing A1C and have few side effects, there is also a chance that they could cause heart attacks.

DPP-4 inhibitors are thought to improve A1C without causing hypoglycemia. Some of these drugs are Januvia, Onglyza, Tradjenta, and Nesina that are sold on the U.S. market. They work by reducing blood glucose levels and interfere in the process of breaking down GLP-1. They lower sugar levels only if the levels are elevated. SGLT2 inhibitors are another group that works by stopping blood sugar when it arrives in the kidneys. The kidneys normally either excrete or reroute glucose through the body again. These drugs can cause yeast infections and urinary tract infections because of higher sugar levels in the urine.

Another group of drugs used for diabetes is the alpha-glucosidase inhibitors that blocks the berakdown of starches and carbs in the intestine. There is another group, which is the bile acid sequestrant, Welchol that lowers cholesterol while reducing blood glucose levels in diabetics. All of these drugs work differently, so your doctor may prescribe more than one diabetes medication for you. You can discuss your options with your doctor and work towards a diabetes treatment plan that works best for you.

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