Some diabetes type 2 patients can keep their blood sugar levels under control by only working out and diet. However, the rest of patients may need insulin or other medications to help. Best type 2 diabetes medications are unique for each patient. It is determined by a lot of factors, such as the level of your blood sugar and other health issues you may have.
Some Type 2 Diabetes Medications Available
- Metformin (e.g. Glumetza, Glucophage). This is the most commonly prescribed of all type 2 diabetes medications. It causes the body to be more sensitive to insulin. As a result, the insulin will be used more effectively. Additionally, it also makes the liver produce less glucose. Metformin alone does not reduce the blood sugar level enough. Normally the doctor will advise you to change your lifestyle by being more active and eat healthier. When first taking metformin, it might be accompanied with nausea and diarrhea. These side effects usually go away once the body is used to the medicine. Your doctor might add other medications with metformin if it does not control the level of blood sugar alone.
- Sulfonylureas (e.g. Glynase, DiaBeta, Amaryl). This medicine works by making the body produce more insulin. Some of the side effects might be weight gain and low blood sugar level.
- Meglitinides (e.g. Prandin, Starlix). These type 2 diabetes medications work like sulfonylureas by increasing the insulin in the body. It stimulates the pancreas, making it work faster than sulfonylureas but for a shorter period. The side effects are also the possibility of weight gain and the risk of lowering the blood sugar to below normal levels. These side effects are less severe than those of sulfonylureas’.
- Thiazolidinediones (e.g. Avandia, Actos). This one works like metformin by increasing the sensitivity of the body tissues to insulin. However, it involves dangerous side effects like the possibility of heart failure and sometimes fractures. A less serious but common side effect is weight gain.
- GLP-1 receptor agonists (e.g. Victoza, Byetta). This class of medicine slows down digestion, leading to lower blood sugar. It is not as effective and is usually accompanied by other medications. It might also increase the possibility of pancreatitis and nausea.
- SGLT2 inhibitors (e.g. Invokana, Farxiga). A new generation of type 2 diabetes medications works by stopping the kidney from absorbing the sugar into the blood. Instead, the sugar is removed from the body through urine. The side effects include increased possibility of UTI (Urinary Tract Infections) and yeast infections. It also increases hypotension and urination.
- Insulin therapy. Doctors used to try to avoid prescribing insulin but now that has changed due to its benefits. Insulin is injected by a syringe and a fine needle or an insulin pen injector. A mixture of different insulin types might be prescribed by your doctor. Doctors usually prescribe a long-lasting shot at night for diabetes type 2 patients. Some of the insulin types are Apidra, Humalog, Novolog, Lantus, Levemir, Humulin N and Novolin N.
- Bariatric surgery. Your doctor will recommend a weight loss surgery if you have a high body mass index (larger than 35). The surgery increases the chance of normalizing blood sugar levels. There are some downsides to this surgery, however. It is expensive and risky (including risk of death); it also requires some serious changes in lifestyle in the long-term.
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