You need to take medication if diet and exercise aren’t keeping your blood glucose under control. The good news is that since 1921, when insulin was isolated and used for the first time, and the 1950s, when the first oral medications for type 2 diabetes became available, new classes of drugs have been developed, each lowering blood glucose in its own unique way.
In this article, you become an educated consumer, finding out all you need to know to use medication effectively and safely. You can find out not only about the medication you’re taking and how it works, but also when to take it, how it interacts with other medications and what side effects it may cause. We also advise you on how to use several of these medications together, if necessary, to normalise your blood glucose.
Taking Drugs by Mouth: Oral Agents
Most people with type 2 diabetes start off taking tablets to help control their blood glucose. No drug should be taken as a convenient way of avoiding the basic diet and exercise practices that are the keys to good control
Injecting Incretin Mimetics
A new group of drugs available for people with type 2 diabetes is the incretin mimetics. When you eat food, incretin hormones stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin and reduce the production of glucagon, resulting in an increase in glucose uptake by muscle and a reduction in the amount of glucose made by the liver. Artificial incretin mimetics work by copying this process.
Minimising the chance of long-term complications of diabetes involves more than just looking after your blood glucose! Good control of blood pressure and blood lipids (cholesterol and other fats) is important and your doctor may suggest medication to help achieve this. Medication may also be prescribed to help reduce the chance of a heart attack or stroke, or to help with weight loss.