Diabetes – Knowing The Different Types of Diabetes Treatment Drugs Available To Type 2 Diabetics

When people hear the diagnoses of diabetes, they tend to assume that insulin injections are the only
course of treatment available to them. With Type 2 diabetes this is not the case, and there are many
different diabetes treatment drugs that your doctor may recommend you try before you resort to
taking insulin. Here are a few of the diabetes treatment drugs available today, along with their
possible side effects.

Biguanide –

Biguanide, otherwise known as metformin, is a diabetes treatment drug taken two to three times
daily. It prevents the liver from producing new glucose, and also assists insulin in carrying
glucose to the body’s cells. The side effects of this treatment are mild, and include an upset
stomach, nausea or diarrhoea. Side effects decrease over time, and can be limited by taking
biguanide tablets with food.

Prandial glucose regulators –

Prandial glucose regulators need to be taken three times daily to stimulate insulin production in
the pancreas. They act quickly over a short time period, reducing the risk of a hypo, and so should
be taken at the same time as a meal is eaten. The various types of prandial glucose regulators,
including repaglinide and nateglinide, can cause an upset stomach, nausea and skin rashes. Weight
gain can also be a side effect, but this can often be controlled by prescribing a flexible dose.

Sulphonylureas –

Sulphonylureas such as chlorpropamide, glibenclamide and glimepiride, are one form of diabetes
treatment. They are taken in tablet form once or twice a day, to stimulate natural insulin
production in the body. They have a number of side effects, including nausea, weight gain, and an
upset stomach, and occasionally a lumpy red skin rash. Sulphonylureas work over a long period of
time and can make the blood sugar drop too low, causing hypoglycaemia. For this reason they are
rarely prescribed for elderly diabetics.

Thiazolidinediones –

Thiazolidinediones are a relatively new diabetes type 2 treatment drug, that comes in two distinct
forms, rosiglitazone and pioglitazone. This drug is designed to overcome insulin resistance in the
body, enabling type 2 diabetics to use their naturally produced insulin more effectively. Side
effects of this diabetes treatment include weight gain, fluid retention and headaches. It can also
lead to upper respiratory track infections in rare cases.

DPP-4 inhibitors –

DPP-4 inhibitors are a type of diabetes treatment that increases levels of the incretin hormone,
which occurs naturally in the body. This hormone is produced when we eat and helps us to produce
the required amount of insulin, whilst limiting glucose production in the liver. DPP-4 inhibitors
can be taken along with other tablets such as thiazolidinediones, but not with insulin. The side
effects of these diabetes treatment drugs depend largely on what you are taking them with, but they
have a small risk of causing hypoglycaemia.

Alpha glucose inhibitor –

An alpha glucose inhibitor, such as acarbose, is a diabetes treatment that can be taken three times
a day. It slows down the rate at which starchy food is absorbed into the blood stream from the
intestine, meaning that blood sugar levels rise more slowly after a meal. Your doctor is likely to
prescribe a reduced dose of one tablet a day at first, because this will cut down on the side
effects such as bloating, wind and diarrhea.

At some point most type 2 diabetics will find that they do need to switch to insulin to treat their
condition. This is often because after many years of diabetes treatment drugs the pancreas is no
longer able to produce sufficient insulin. Although the idea of insulin injections can be terrifying
to some people, the needles used are actually quite small as the injection occurs just under the
skin. Insulin is injected into the stomach, buttocks or thighs, and the injection sites are varied
to reduce insulin build up. For those that can’t face injections, the switch form diabetes
treatment drugs to insulin can be eased by the use of an inhaler or insulin pump.