For type 2 diabetes that cannot be controlled by exercise and proper diet, oral medications are the next treatment method. In this video, you will learn the types of oral medications and how they work.
Be sure to watch till the end, because you have to be extra cautious in some circumstances to avoid serious problems.
Different classes of drugs work in different ways to lower blood sugar.
1. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors
Medications: Acarbose (Precose) and miglitol (Glyset)
How it works: block the breakdown of starches and sugars, such as bread, potatoes, pasta, and table sugar.
Possible side effects: gas and diarrhea.
Medication: Metformin (Glucophage)
How it works: a) decrease the amount of glucose produced by the liver. b) make muscle tissue more sensitive to insulin, absorbing more glucose from the bloodstream.
Possible side effects: diarrhea.
3. Bile Acid Sequestrants (BASs)
4. Dopamine-2 Agonists
Medications: Bromocriptine (Cycloset and Parlodel).
5. DPP-4 Inhibitors
Medications: Alogliptin (Nesina), linagliptin (Tradjenta), saxagliptin (Onglyza), and sitagliptin (Januvia)
How it works: GLP-1 is a natural compound in the body that reduces blood sugar levels. DPP-4 inhibitors prevent the breakdown of GLP-1.
Medications: Nateglinide (Starlix) and repaglinide(Prandin)
How it works: stimulate the beta cells to release insulin.
7. SGLT2 Inhibitors
Medications: Canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga), and empagliflozin (Jardiance)
How it works: prevent SGLT2 from reabsorbing glucose in the kidney, promoting elimination in the urine.
Possible side effects: urinary tract and yeast infections.
Medications: glimepiride (Amaryl), glipizide (Glucotrol and Glucotrol XL), and glyburide (Micronase, Glynase, and Diabeta).
How it works: stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas to release more insulin.
9. TZDs or Thiazolidinediones
Medications: Rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (ACTOS)
How it works: help insulin work better in the muscle and fat and also reduce glucose production in the liver.
Possible side effects: higher risk for heart failure, and heart attacks in some individuals.
Combining different medications
Sometimes, you have to take a combination of them when one pill fails to control blood sugar levels.
Please consult your doctor for ideal options.
Some cautions when taking oral medication
Some oral medications, like sulfonylureas and meglitinides, stimulate insulin release. This effect can lead to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
You need to monitor your blood sugar levels and pay attention to the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia.
Alcohol itself can also cause low blood sugar levels. If you drink alcohol and take oral diabetes pills simultaneously, you might risk “insulin shock.”
It is an emergency that needs immediate medical attention.
Consult your doctor for alcohol consumption.
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