Diabetes Pills Information

Understanding Type 2 Diabetes: Fewer Highs, Fewer Lows, Better Health

Insulin is a hormone produced by cells in the pancreas called beta cells. Insulin helps the body use blood glucose (a type of sugar) for energy.There are several different kinds of diabetes medicines in addition to insulin. These medicines can lower blood sugar levels but they’re not the same as insulin. Most of these medicines are available in pill form. Insulin can’t be taken as a pill because acids in the stomach destroy it before it can enter the bloodstream.

People with type 2 diabetes do not make enough insulin and/or their bodies do not respond well to it, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. Oral diabetes medications bring blood sugar levels into the normal range through a variety of ways.

Oral diabetes medicines help control blood glucose levels in people whose bodies still produce some insulin, such as some people with type 2 diabetes. These medicines are prescribed along with specific dietary changes and regular exercise. Many oral diabetes medications may be used in combination to achieve optimal blood glucose control.

This webpage provides general information about the different oral medicines for diabetes. It will help you learn more about your medication. Always take your medicine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. .


For what conditions are diabetes pills used?


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Oral diabetes medications are only used to treat type 2 or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Patients with type 1 diabetes are dependent on insulin for their treatment.In type 2 diabetes, the body still makes some of its own insulin, but isn’t able to make enough to keep up with the body’s needs or use its own insulin effectively. Diabetes pills don’t replace the body’s insulin, but they can help the body make more insulin or help it more effectively use the insulin it does make.

Most people who have type 2 diabetes take diabetes pills to help them keep their blood sugar levels closer to normal. People with type 1 diabetes don’t use diabetes pills. They need to take insulin shots because their bodies can’t make any of their own insulin.

Diabetes pills can also help with weight loss and help improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which tend to be abnormal in people with type 2 diabetes.

There are 6 groups of oral diabetes drugs. Each group has a different active ingredient and works in a diff erent way. The chart below compares the different groups of  Type 2 medications.


Classification Medication Route The way it works Time and Dose
Sulfonylureas Glimepiride (Amaryl) Glipizide (Glucotrol) Glipizide ER (Glucotrol XL) Glyburide Oral Increases insulin production 1 or 2 times a day
Biguanides Glucophage (aka Metformin) Glucophage XR Oral Lowers glucose from digestion 2-3 times a day, XR once a day
Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors Glyset and Precose Oral Slows digestion, slows glucose production Take before each meal
Thiazolidinediones Actos and Avandia Oral Lowers glucose production Once daily with or without food
Meglitinides Prandin and Starlix Oral Increases insulin production 5-30 minutes before meals
DPP-4 Inhibitors Januvia Oral Lowers glucose by blocking an enzyme 100 mg. once a day
Incretin Mimetics Byetta Injectable Helps the pancreas make insulin, slows digestion 10 mcg. Inject within an hour of AM and PM meals
Anti-hyperglycemic Symlin Injectable Controls postprandial blood glucose 15 mcg. Inject before major meals

For information on the side-effects of Type 2 medications click this link side effects of diabetes medication

Are there differences among types of oral diabetes medications?


Diabetes: Oral Medication and Insulin Therapies: A Practical Guide for Reaching Diabetes Target Goals

1.Second generation sulfonylurea (Glucotrol®, Amaryl®, and DiaBeta®)

These medications lower blood glucose by stimulating Beta cells in the pancreas to release more insulin.

Sulfonylureas have been used since the 1950s to help people lower their blood sugar levels. Over the years, newer and better versions of this drug have become available. One of the best drugs currently available in this class is glimepiride (Amaryl).

Here’s how these pills work: Sulfonylureas help the pancreas make more insulin. When the insulin gets into the bloodstream, blood sugar levels go down. Like people who take insulin, people who take sulfonylureas need to be careful that their blood sugar levels don’t drop too low.

Click Here For Further Information

How do I know if my diabetes pill is working?



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The best way to find out how well your diabetes pill is working is to test your blood sugar. Ask a member of your health care team what time of day is best for testing. You’ll want to test when your diabetes medicine is expected to be most active in your body. Keep a record of your blood sugar levels  during that time to see if they’re at or near your goal.

If your levels are at or near your goal and you’re not having any problems with the medicine, then it’s probably working well. If you’re still not sure, talk to your doctor or other member of your care team.

Can I stop taking my diabetes medicine after my blood sugar is under control?



Beating Diabetes: How You Can Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes with the Minimum Use of Medications

It’s reasonable to think that after a person gets good blood sugar control, it means the end of managing diabetes. But that’s not the case.

People with type 1 diabetes aren’t able to make their own insulin, so they will always need to take insulin shots every day.

For people with type 2 diabetes who are on medicine, the answer isn’t as clear. Sometimes when people are first diagnosed, they start on pills or insulin right away. If the person also works hard to control diabetes with diet and exercise, he or she can lower the need for medicine and might be able to stop taking it altogether. As long as the person is able to keep blood sugar levels normal with diet and exercise, there isn’t a need for medicine.

However, type 2 diabetes changes over time. The change can be fast or slow, but it does change. This means that even if a person was able to stop taking medicine for a while, he or she might need to start taking it again in the future. If a person is taking medicine to keep blood sugar normal, then it’s important to keep taking it to lower the chances for heart disease and other health problems.

What’s the difference between generic and brand name medicines?



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The generic name is the name of the medicine’s chemical makeup. The brand name is the name that the company who makes the medicine uses to advertise and sell the drug. For example, metformin comes from a class of drugs called biguanides. The company that introduced this drug in the United States sells it under the brand name Glucophage.

What non-insulin injectable drugs are approved for diabetes?

Your Guide to Type 2 Diabetes (Your Health Companion Books)

If the oral diabetes medication you’re taking isn’t getting your HbA1c into a healthy range, your doctor may suggest a combination therapy that also includes injectable insulin or an injectable medication. Which medications you wind up using depends on your preference and medical history.

The goal for medication therapy of type 2 diabetes is generally an HbA1c of less than 7%. However, your health care provider will determine your HbA1c goal based on individual factors.

CLICK HERE for an overview of the classes of non-insulin injectable medications currently available.

Other drugs are on the horizon as well, as scientists work to improve the variety of medications to treat type 2 diabetes.

Frequently doctors will prescribe one type of oral medication and discover it isn’t really helping to control blood glucose that much.

In the past, this would have meant that the patient would likely be put on insulin. Now,doctors can try another type of medication to see if it helps correct problems.

Doctors often notice that a particular medication works well for a period of time and then begins to work less well for a diabetic.

Now they can mix and match medications that work on different aspects of the diabetes problem to see if that will improve blood glucose control.

For more great Health and Nutrition Tips refer to the website positivehealthwellness.com.


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

Please email momo19@diabetessupportsite.com or leave your comments below.



4 thoughts on “Diabetes Pills Information”

  1. Wow, I had no idea there were so many options when it came to medication for diabetes. It’d be overwhelming to choose one and to know which would be best for you. How likely is it that someone with diabetes will take several of these simultaneously and do you know if they have long term effects on the body? I know many medications ruin the liver when they’re used for a long period of time.

    • HI JCamden,

      Yes there is a variety of medication available for diabetes.
      Metformin can be given on its own, or alongside insulin or another antidiabetic medicine. There are a number of tablets available which contain metformin in combination with other antidiabetic medicines (brands include Jentadueto, Competact, Komboglyze, Janumet, and Eucreas). Taking a combination tablet like these can help to reduce the total number of tablets that need to be taken each day.

      Doctors often prescribe oral medications to treat type 2 diabetes, either alone or combination with insulin therapy.

      Unfortunately, oral medications alone often cannot control diabetes. Many type 2 diabetics, diagnosed as young adults, at first successfully control their condition with diet and exercise, but find they need the pills as they grow older. A number of years (and dosage increases) later, these diabetics have reached the limit of what oral medications can do for them, and need to start injecting insulin to keep their blood glucose at a safe level.

      Insulin and sulfonylureas, (brands include Glyburide and Glipizide), can cause some people to gain some weight, usually 10 to 15 pounds over one to two years. This is because these medications help the body use all the sugar that comes from the food a person eats. The kidneys then get rid of extra calories by urinating away some of the sugar.

      Insulin and sulfonylureas can also cause blood sugar to go too low. When that happens, a person has to eat or drink something with sugar to get the blood sugar level back up to a normal range. If this happens often, then a person is eating or drinking a lot of extra calories to keep blood sugar levels normal. This can cause the person to gain weight.

      Glucagon-like Polypeptide-1 (GLP-1) and Dipeptidyl Peptidase IV (DPP-4) inhibitors have been shown to be effective in controlling blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, studies are still underway to find out what the long-term effects are of using these new drugs.

      Hypoglycemic episodes are three to seven times more frequent in people taking sulfonylureas as in those taking metformin, thiazolidinediones, or DPP-4 inhibitors. Combination therapies that included a sulfonylurea plus metformin also have an excess hypoglycemia risk when compared to metformin plus a thiazolidinedione.

      All medications have potential side effects. When on metformin, you should be getting your liver enzymes checked every 3 months, at least initially making sure you are stabilized.

      The best medication is be as active as you possibly can and follow a healthy, whole foods eating program. Medications are never the magic answer and should only be considered when truly needed.

      A strong focus on lifestyle changes – which usually means losing fat,eating healthier and becoming fitter – can serve to prevent many people getting type 2 diabetes.

  2. since diabetes has been recorded as one of the topping disease in our country and with the information provided i can feel that this post is more effective for me and other people around me
    thanks for the service and with no hesitation keep me updated with any other information that may arise


    • Hello Jose,

      Its great you found the information in this post helpful.

      You can subscribe to our website feed if you wish to keep updated on more information in this website.


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