Side Effects Of Diabetes Medication

Medications and Diabetes Risk: Mechanisms and Approach to Risk Reduction (Oxford American Pocket Notes)

A side effect is an unwanted problem caused by a medicine. For example, some diabetes medicines can cause nausea or an upset stomach when you first start taking them. Before you start a new medicine, ask your doctor about possible side effects and how you can avoid them. If the side effects of your medicine bother you, tell your doctor.

When you’re prescribed a new diabetes drug, ask your doctor which side effects to look out for. No two people respond the same way to the same medication, so it’s impossible to know if you’ll experience a certain side effect before taking the drug.

Type 1 diabetes, once called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is usually first found in children, teenagers, or young adults. If you have type 1 diabetes, you must take insulin because your body no longer makes it. You also might need to take other types of diabetes medicines that work with insulin.

Type 2 diabetes, once called adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes. It can start when the body doesn’t use insulin as it should, a condition called insulin resistance. If the body can’t keep up with the need for insulin, you may need diabetes medicines. Many choices are available. Your doctor might prescribe two or more medicines. It is recommended that most people start with metformin, a kind of diabetes pill.

Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs for the first time during pregnancy. The hormones of pregnancy or a shortage of insulin can cause gestational diabetes. Most women with gestational diabetes control it with meal planning and physical activity. But some women need insulin to reach their target blood glucose levels.

Types of Diab​etes Medicines

Diabetes medicines come in several forms.


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If your body no longer makes enough insulin, you’ll need to take it. Insulin is used for all types of diabetes. Your doctor can help you decide which way of taking insulin is best for you.

Taking injections. You’ll give yourself shots using a needle and syringe. The syringe is a hollow tube with a plunger. You will put your dose of insulin into the tube. Some people use an insulin pen, which looks like a pen but has a needle for its point.

Using an insulin pump. An insulin pump is a small machine about the size of a cell phone, worn outside of your body on a belt or in a pocket or pouch. The pump connects to a small plastic tube and a very small needle. The needle is inserted under the skin and stays in for several days. Insulin is pumped from the machine through the tube into your body.

Using an insulin jet injector. The jet injector, which looks like a large pen, sends a fine spray of insulin through the skin with high-pressure air instead of a needle.

Using an insulin infuser. A small tube is inserted just beneath the skin and remains in place for several days. Insulin is injected into the end of the tube instead of through the skin.

What does insuli​n do?

Insulin helps keep blood glucose levels on target by moving glucose from the blood into your body’s cells. Your cells then use glucose for energy. In people who don’t have diabetes, the body makes the right amount of insulin on its own. But when you have diabetes, you and your doctor must decide how much insulin you need throughout the day and night.

Your plan for taking insulin will depend on your daily routine and your type of insulin. Some people with diabetes who use insulin need to take it two, three, or four times a day to reach their blood glucose targets. Others can take a single shot. Your doctor or diabetes educator will help you learn how and when to give yourself insulin.

Each type of insulin works at a different speed. For example, rapid-acting insulin starts to work right after you take it. Long-acting insulin works for many hours. Most people need two or more types of insulin to reach their blood glucose targets.

For information on the different types of insulin refer to the webpage Insulin Facts

Insulin Side Effects

Insulin Therapy: A Pocket Guide

Hypoglycemia is the most common and serious side effect of insulin, occurring in type 1 and type 2 diabetics.

Symptoms of low blood sugar(Hypoglycemia) can be mild, such as a feeling of lightheadedness, but can also be severe. In extreme cases, low blood sugar can even lead to coma and death. Other symptoms of low blood sugar include sweating, confusion and rapid breathing. Loss of consciousness is a less common, but severe symptom of low blood sugar.

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2.Diabet​es Pills

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If some combination of losing weight, making dietary changes and exercising doesn’t help a Type 2 diabetic achieve target blood sugar levels, a doctor will prescribe oral antidiabetic medications.

Along with meal planning and physical activity, diabetes pills help people with type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes keep their blood glucose levels on target. Several kinds of pills are available. Each works in a different way. Many people take two or three kinds of pills. Some people take combination pills. Combination pills contain two kinds of diabetes medicine in one tablet. Some people take pills and insulin.

Your doctor may ask you to try one kind of pill. If it doesn’t help you reach your blood glucose targets, your doctor may ask you to

A.Take more of the same pill

B.Add another kind of pill

C.Change to another type of pill

D.Start taking insulin

E.Start taking another injected medicine

If your doctor suggests that you take insulin or another injected medicine, it doesn’t mean your diabetes is getting worse. Instead, it means you need insulin or another type of medicine to reach your blood glucose targets. Everyone is different. What works best for you depends on your usual daily routine, eating habits, and activities, and your other health conditions.

Many types of diabetes pills can help people with type 2 diabetes lower their blood glucose. Each class of pill helps lower blood glucose in a different way.

Diabetes drugs, alongside a healthy diet and exercise routine, help people with type 2 diabetes/gestational diabetes to maintain stable blood glucose levels.

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A variety of different diabetes drugs are available, with each performing a different function. Many people with diabetes have to take more than one type of pill, with some taking pills which combine two types of drug in one tablet.

For information on the different types of Type 2 diabetes medication refer to http://diabetessupportsite/diabetes-pills-information

Some people experience a variety of side effects from different oral diabetes drugs.

Each of the medicines discussed here has side effects and other warnings and precautions. Some diabetes pills have been associated with increased risk of heart disease. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of a drug with your doctor before starting any therapy.


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These pills do two things:

Help your pancreas make more insulin.

Help your body use the insulin it makes.

For these pills to work, your pancreas has to make some insulin.

Generic names for some of the more common sufonylureas are glimepiride, glyburide, chlorpropamide, and glipizide.

Some sulfonylureas work all day, so you take them only once a day – usually before breakfast. Others you take twice a day, typically before breakfast and before supper. Your doctor will tell you how many times a day you should take your diabetes pills.

Some possible side effects include low blood glucose (hypoglycemia), upset stomach, skin rash or itching, and/or weight gain.

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3.Injections Other Than ​Insulin

In addition to insulin, other types of injected medicines are now available.

New- Mechanisms- in- Glucose- Control
New Mechanisms in Glucose Control

Other drugs include:

(A)Albiglutide (Tanzeum)

GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1).
The Insulinotropic Gut Hormone Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (Frontiers in Diabetes)

It’s a man-made version of a hormone called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1). Your intestines normally release this substance when you eat. It helps control your blood sugar.

Who can take it: Adults who have type 2 diabetes and haven’t had success with other treatment. If you’re planning to get pregnant, talk with your doctor, since researchers haven’t studied albiglutide in pregnant women.

What it does: After you eat, albiglutide helps your pancreas release insulin, which moves blood sugar (glucose) into your cells. It also limits how much of the hormone glucagon your body makes. This substance spurs your liver to release stored sugar. The drug also slows down digestion.

Side effects: The most common ones are upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, nausea, and skin reactions where you give yourself the shot. All GLP-1 drugs, including albiglutide, have a boxed warning noting that in animal studies, this type of drug has been linked to thyroid cancer in some rats and mice. Experts don’t know whether it has the same effect in people, though. Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which may be severe, is another side effect.

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 It is important for you to keep a written record of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this medication journal with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

If you have any information,questions, or feedback you would like to include in this post.

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6 thoughts on “Side Effects Of Diabetes Medication”

  1. Hi there! I didn’t know that diabetes medications has its side effects. I thought that this medicines have no disadvantages when it comes to taking them. Actually, my grandparents have diabetes which makes them take so many medications everyday. So far they are not experiencing any difficulties with this but I know sooner or later all the side effects will take place.
    Do you have any alternative suggestion aside from taking medicines? Thanks in advance for your response.

    • Hi John,

      Sorry to hear that your grandparents are both diabetic.

      First of all there is no cure for diabetes unfortunately.

      Synthetic human insulin is used by millions of diabetics quite safely.

      One of the more surprising aspects of diabetes medications is how two people taking the same drug can have such different experiences.

      One diabetic may have severe or troublesome side effects that make the drug intolerable, while another diabetic finds that the medicine does only the good that it is intended to do.

      To avoid some serious side affects ask to be prescribed drugs that have been on the market for at least seven years. It often takes five to 10 years for serious side effects of a new drug to show up in the general population. Some reactions surface only after the person has been on the drug for a year or more.

      Taking all medications as directed can lower the risk of side effects

      Alternative therapies for diabetes are treatments that are neither widely taught in medical schools nor widely practiced in hospitals.

      Alternative treatment that has been studied to manage diabetes include vitamin and mineral supplementation.

      The most effective methods of treatment for diabetes particularly Type 2 diabetes is exercise, physical therapy and healthy diet changes .

      Some Type 2 diabetics can minimize side effects or avoid drugs altogether by losing weight, exercising more , stopping smoking and cutting down on alcohol.

      Ask why the doctor is prescribing a particular drug. Find out what the risks and benefits are, compared to alternative drugs.

      Don’t stop taking a drug without consulting your doctor. Suddenly stopping some drugs can be very harmful.

      A doctor may adjust the dosage,change the medication or offer tips to make you more comfortable.

      Thankfully, many drugs can treat diabetes. If you react poorly to one, your doctor can often prescribe another.

      Diabetes needs to be monitored and treated continuously to prevent future debilitating problems. If your grandparents are not fastidious about this they could end up blind, on dialysis, missing limbs etc.

  2. This is an excellent resource for learning more about diabetes. The new technology that is emerging in the field of diabetes has really made life easier for those who suffer with it. Additionally, more and more research is being done to try and find a cure. The books you are recommending look like great resources as well. And I love the science video! Thank you for all your great research!

    • Hi christinamk,

      I really appreciate your positive comments about this website!

      If there is any topic you would like to see covered in this site please let me know all feedback is welcome!

  3. Lots of information here. If your doctor is not available to answer questions or worries about medication and side effects, a pharmacist will usually know the answer and can guide you by performing a medicines review. This can check you are on the right dose, look for interactions between medicines and supplements, and generally put your mind at rest – or refer you to your doctor if needed.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thanks so much for your helpful comment your advice will give readers peace of mind knowing they can turn to their pharmacist and doctor if they are concerned about the possible side-effects of medications..

      Your great feedback is much appreciated!


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