Diabetes – Oral Medicines for Diabetes
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Oral diabetes medicines are medicines that you take by mouth to help control your blood sugar level. They are designed to help people whose bodies still produce some insulin, but not enough insulin.
What medicines could my healthcare provider prescribe?
Many categories of diabetes medicine are available in pill form: metformin (a biguanide), sulfonylureas, , non-sulfonylurea insulin secretagogue, alpha‑glucosidase inhibitors, sodium-glucose transporter 2 (SGLT2 and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. Each medicine has good points and bad points. Your healthcare provider will decide which medicine is right for you.
Path to better health
No matter which oral medication your healthcare provider prescribes, you should combine it with a healthier lifestyle. Diet and exercise can do much to improve blood sugar levels.
Metformin is a type of biguanide. It is often the first oral medicine prescribed for someone newly diagnosed with diabetes. It has the advantage of not causing low blood sugar. Metformin does not cause your pancreas to make insulin, but it helps your body use insulin better. Metformin can cause side effects such as nausea or diarrhea in some people. Your healthcare provider may prescribe metformin in combination with another oral diabetes medicine.
These medicines help your pancreas make insulin. They are inexpensive and have few side effects. There are 3 types of sulfonyureas: gliclazide, glimepiride and glyburide. Side effects may include weight gain and low level of sodium in the blood. Sulfonylureas can be taken alone or with metformin, pioglitazone (a thiazolidinedione) or insulin. If you’re allergic to sulfa, you can’t take a sulfonylurea.
Non-sulfonylurea insulin secretagogue
There are two medicines in this group: repaglinide and nateglinide. Both of these lower your blood glucose by prompting the pancreas to release more insulin. These drugs work quickly and do not stay in your system long. So they are a good option if your meal schedule varies or is unpredictable. They also cause less weight gain that other oral diabetes medicines.
Sodium-glucose transporter 2 (SGLT2)
A newer class of diabetes medication, SGLT2, includes three medicines: canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, and empagliflozin. These drugs remove extra sugar from your body by blocking it from the kidneys. They also cause your body to be more sensitive to insulin. The most common side effects caused by SGLT2 are vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors
They are sitagliptin, saxagliptin, and linagliptin. DPP-4 inhibitors help your pancreas release more insulin after you eat. These medicines also tell your liver to release less glucose. Some side effects from taking DPP-4 inhibitors may include nausea and diarrhea.
Things to consider
Managing your blood sugar level is critical to your overall health. Often the focus is on keeping blood sugar levels low. But if they are too low, it can put you at risk, too. Talk to you doctor if you are starting a new exercise program or starting a new diet. He or she may need to adjust your medicine
FOR MORE INFORMATION
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PEI Government Website
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