Diabetes Medications – Metformin, SGLT2 inhibitors, Sulfonylureas, Thiazolidinediones and Meglitinides, GLP-1 receptor agonists, DPP-4 inhibitors

There are very many drugs geared towards the treatment of diabetes. From the fact that there are two types of diabetes, it is of paramount importance to describe the medications according to the type of diabetes. There are two types of diabetes; type 1 and 2.

In treating diabetes, insulin is common for all the two types. Other medications are mostly specific to the disease. Insulin has several forms, which include short-acting, intermediate-acting and long-acting insulin. The choice of the insulin form in maintaining blood glucose depends on the urgency of acquiring the effects of the drug.


Type 1 Diabetes Medications

In this type of diabetes, the patient doesn’t have extrinsic insulin production, a problem that makes him or her dependent on extrinsic insulin for the whole life. There are many insulin types, which are key in type 1diabetes. Examples are insulin aspart, detemir, glargine, glulisine and lispro. There is no specific drug medication that aims at releasing can restore the totally failed cells of the pancreas to start secreting insulin. Most of the drugs used are aimed at treating the complications and symptoms of the disease. For instance, analgesics are used to relief pain as a symptom of the disease.




Type 2 Diabetes Medications

In this type of the disease, the patient’s pancreatic cells produce inadequate amounts of normally functioning insulin or the body cells gain resistance to the available insulin. Other than the usual insulin, there are many other drugs for type 2 of the disease. Among others are:


SGLT2 inhibitors. This class of drugs prevents the normal function of the kidneys to reabsorb blood sugar. That ensures that all the sugar in the renal tubules is excreted. By doing that, excess sugars get out of the body via renal excretion, a process that lowers the blood sugars back to normal in hyperglycemia.


Metformin. This drug is the first-line medication for this type of diabetes. The drug improves the sensitivity of body tissues to insulin in addition to lowering liver glucose production. In the initial stages of using the metformin, nausea and diarrhea are very common. The good news in such a case is that the side effects are self-limiting once the body gets used to it.


Sulfonylureas. This group of drugs include glipizide, which helps the pancreatic cells to secrete insulin. Weight gain and hypoglycemia are just some of the very many side effects.


Thiazolidinediones and Meglitinides. All the two classes of drugs are just like sulfonylureas in that they promote insulin secretion by the pancreatic cells. In all the drugs, weight gain is a reality concerning the side effects. Thiazolidinediones include rosiglitazone while repaglinide is an example of a meglitinide.


GLP-1 receptor agonists. The drugs in this class slow the digestion rate. Due to this, they reduce the glucose levels in the blood. Exenatide is one of the member drugs in this class.


DPP-4 inhibitors. These drugs include linagliptin and sitagliptin among others. They aim at reducing the glucose levels in the blood.


All in all, medications are the mainstay in the treatment of diabetes. There are, however, other measures that are essential in the treatment like lifestyle ones. In treating this disease, knowing the type is paramount in order to achieve good treatment results.

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