Diabetes Medications

Diabetes Medications

Diabetes medication plans may include insulin, oral diabetes medication, or a combination of both.

For some people, lifestyle changes such as losing weight and eating healthy aren’t enough to control blood glucose levels. People who need medication should know that they are not alone in their struggle with diabetes because it is the most common chronic disease among adults worldwide.

Your doctor will decide which medication and treatment plan are right for you. They will do this based on your:

  • Cardiovascular risk factors (cholesterol or high blood pressure)
  • Physical condition
  • Response to medication
  • Lifestyle
  • Insurance coverage

You may be prescribed a combination of medications to lower your blood glucose and reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Together, these drugs can help you feel better as well! However, you must understand the possible side effects of each medication, so if they affect you in any way, know what to expect next.

Do not stop taking diabetes medications or change the dose without consulting with your doctor.

Your health care professional can give you a blood sugar monitor depending on your condition. This device will let you check your blood sugar levels throughout the day. This information will help you understand what is happening to your body. It will tell you about the effect of the food and drink that you eat and drink. It will also help you learn which foods and drinks are bad for your blood sugar levels to avoid them.

Combination Therapy

Different types of diabetes medications can be used to lower blood sugar. They work in different ways, and they have other side effects.

People who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are first given metformin. Metformin decreases the liver’s production of glucose in your body.

If you have additional Cardiovascular disease risk factors and metformin is not controlling your blood sugar well enough, you may need to take other medicines. Your doctor might add a GLP-1 receptor agonist or SGLT-2 inhibitor to your treatment.

A GLP-1 receptor agonist helps your body release insulin in a controlled manner, which lowers the levels of glucose made by your liver. Some medications within this class have been shown to positively impact heart and kidney function as well.

SGLT2 inhibitors are potent diabetes medication that prevents sugar from entering your bloodstream by blocking it at its source-your kidneys. Some medications have been shown to reduce both heart failure and chronic renal disease progression.

Diabetes Medications


When the pancreas is healthy, it secretes insulin that helps your body’s cells take in glucose. When someone has Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin. People with Type 2 diabetes produce insulin. Most people with the condition can still make insulin, but their bodies cannot use it properly, and they may also produce less over time.

Doctors prescribe different types of insulin for both types of diabetes. It is injected into the fat of the skin so that it can get into the bloodstream. Insulin is not available in pill form because it would break down during the digestive process. You can inject insulin with a:

  • An insulin pump is a small machine that holds insulin. It pumps it through a tube made of plastic to the skin, where it stays for several days.
  • A syringe is a needle connected to a tube. The needle has insulin in it, and the plunger moves the insulin through the tube into your body.
  • An insulin pen is a device that looks like a pen. It holds insulin with a needle tip.

Insulins are different. They can be made in different ways; they work at different speeds, peak at different times (at the most part), and last for different amounts of time. There are also differences in how much each insulin costs. They include:

  • An efficient way to control your insulin levels is through Inhaled Insulin. This medication begins working in 12-15 minutes, peaks at 30 minutes, and leaves the system 180 minutes. It is taken before each meal to have an even level of sugar throughout the day, with no highs or lows.
  • Rapid-Acting Insulin works within 15 minutes of administration to help stabilize blood sugar levels, peaks in one to two hours, and may last for up to four.
  • Regular Insulin or Short-Acting Insulin is chemically designed for a slow-release, usually gets into the bloodstream within 30 minutes of injection. Peaking two to three hours after injection and is effective for about six hours.
  • Intermediate-Acting Insulin is a medicine that gets into the blood about two to four hours after injection. It peaks four to twelve hours later and works for about twelve to eighteen hours.
  • Long-Acting Insulin is injected into the body and can take several hours to reach the bloodstream. It lowers blood glucose levels evenly over 24 hours.
  • Ultra Long-Acting Insulin is different than other kinds. It starts to take effect after six hours, and it lasts 36 hours or more.

Your healthcare professional will work with you to determine the best type and amount of insulin for your diabetes. They will also take into account your lifestyle. Some people with diabetes take insulin every day or more than once a day to help keep their blood glucose levels in a normal range. Your doctor will teach you how and when to take your insulin.

The side effects of insulin are not always pleasant. However, low blood glucose levels and weight gain can occur as a result, which would cause you to feel tired or have problems concentrating on your daily tasks.

Medications to reduce cardiovascular disease risks

It is essential to know what type of medicine you are taking and why. Your doctor may prescribe:

1. Medications to prevent stroke and heart disease

In recent years, new antihyperglycemic drugs such as GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) and Sglitin 2 (sodium-dependent glucose co-transporter 2) are reducing blood sugar levels at a high rate of success. These treatments can help prevent things like diabetes complications which include cardiovascular issues like strokes or aneurysms. It is important to note that these medicines do more than regulate your insulin response by helping keep you healthy for many different reasons outside of simply regulating sugars in the body. They may:

  • Reduce absorption of glucose via the kidneys.
  • Slow the food moving through the stomach.
  • Decrease the glucose produced by the liver.
Diabetes Medication

2. High blood pressure medication

High blood pressure can damage your body. If it’s not treated, it can cause death. Your doctor may give you medication to lower the level of high blood pressure in your body so that it is at a safe range and does not cause any more harm to your heart or other parts of your body. Follow the doctor’s instructions. Tell them if you have any side effects.

You might not need to take your medicine for high blood pressure forever. Your doctor might reduce the dosage after you reach and keep a normal blood pressure for one year or more. Typically, you can’t stop treatment altogether.

3. Cholesterol medication

In addition to eating healthy food, getting enough exercise, and not being overweight, you may need to take medicine for your heart health and cholesterol levels. Your doctor will decide if you can use one medication or a combination of medications.

Statins are a powerful drug that can lower cholesterol levels and protect the heart from many diseases. They have been directly associated with reducing the risk for heart attack or stroke, but they also provide the most effective lipid-lowering treatment in cases of high cholesterol.

Statins are a type of drug that helps the body produce less cholesterol, lowering LDL levels. Statins accomplish this by inhibiting an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. The result is more favorable HDL and lower total blood lipids (cholesterol).

4. Aspirin therapy

People with diabetes are at high risk of heart attack and stroke. If you have diabetes, your doctor may recommend taking a low dose of aspirin every day. Aspirin can help prevent blood clots from forming. When your arteries are narrowed by plaque, it is harder for blood to flow through them.

Do not start aspirin therapy on your own. Consult first with your doctor.

Diabetes Medications Resources

Here are some diabetes medications links to further assist with your diabetes planning.

John Hopkins Medicine – Diabetes Medications That Treat Heart Disease, Too
There are diabetes drugs that have the happy side effect of also treating heart disease. While these diabetes medications aren’t new, the discovery that certain diabetes drugs can thwart heart disease is a recent development. 

RxList –  New Diabetes Medications: List, Causes, Types, Treatments, Lifestyle Changes
Learn about new and common treatments for different types of diabetes, as well as lifestyle changes and diabetes medications that helps manage this condition.

Healthline – List of Common Diabetes Medications
In both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, there are a number of diabetes medications available to help you manage your condition. For both types of diabetes medications can help you keep your blood sugar levels normal and regulated. We’ve compiled a list of the medications you may be prescribed, depending on your diabetes type. 

Health Navigator NZ – Diabetes medications
Find out about the different type 2 diabetes medications and the questions to ask about them.

Memorial Hermann – Diabetes Medications 101: Insulin, Medicines, & Other Diabetes Treatments
In addition to lifestyle changes including healthy eating and exercise, diabetes may be managed by the use of oral, insulin and/or non-insulin injectable diabetes medications.

Heart Matters – Diabetes medications
We explain oral diabetes medications that can control your blood glucose levels, which is critical to managing type 2 diabetes.

Health Hub – Diabetes Medications
Learn about the different diabetes medications available, the guidelines when taking them and more.

Diabetes Educators Calgary – Diabetes Medications
Complete Diabetes Medications Table

GoodRx – Oral Diabetes Medications Explained: How Metformin & Oral Drugs Work
Often taken for type 2 diabetes, oral diabetic medications assist the body in improving insulin response that already exists by controlling glucose levels. Taken by mouth, oral meds such as Metformin can be combined with one another or with insulin to reach ideal blood sugar levels. Learn more about oral diabetes medications

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