Many people with type 2 diabetes will need to combine healthy eating and physical activity (such as walking) with 1 or more medications. There are 2 classes of diabetes medication that we talk about: non-insulin and insulin. Both are taken to help keep blood glucoseBlood glucoseThe main sugar found in the blood, and the body’s main source of energy. within the target range. Some diabetes medications are taken orally (pills), some are by injection.
Your doctor will let you know if you need to add medicine to your diabetes care plan. This is called “treatment intensification.” He or she will also let you know if and when it’s time to change your medicine if your diabetes has changed.
There are many types of OADs. They work in different ways to lower blood glucose.
Since the different kinds of OADs help lower blood glucose in different ways, some may be used together. These options allow doctors to come up with treatment plans that meet individual needs.
Your doctor may also prescribe a GLP-1 receptor agonist (GLP‑1 RA) as part of your therapy.
GLP-1 is short for glucagon-like peptide-1. It's a naturally occurring hormone released from cells in your body that helps it release insulin to help keep blood glucose in balance. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body may not be responding to GLP-1 properly. When your insulin isn't released at the right time or in the right amount, your blood glucose can get too high.
A GLP-1 RA is a non-insulin medicine that acts like the GLP-1 in your body. These medicines work by:
A GLP-1/GIP medication is one that has the actions of GLP-1 listed above and also mimics GIP (gastric inhibitory peptide), another naturally occurring hormone. This type of medicine also helps your body release insulin in response to meals.
Another option your doctor may prescribe is an amylin agonist. This is an injectable drug that acts like a hormone produced by the pancreas. It affects several different organ systems and works by:
The insulinInsulinA hormone made by the beta cells in the pancreas that helps glucose move from the blood into the cells. Insulin is also an injectable medicine that is used to treat diabetes by controlling the level of glucose in the blood. that your body makes naturally is a hormone that is important for producing energy from food. Some people with type 2 diabetes may not be able to use their own insulin well. This is called insulin resistance. It causes blood glucose levels to increase.
As diabetes changes over time, the body makes less insulin and can’t control blood glucose levels. For these people, insulin can be injected under the skin. This helps lower blood glucose levels back to their normal range.
Different insulin medicines work in different ways to replace the insulin you’re missing. They are grouped together based on:
Human insulin is actually made in a lab. It’s called “human” because the structure is identical to the insulin your body makes.
There are 3 types of human insulin:
Insulin analogs are human insulin with small changes made to the hormone so that it is absorbed faster or lasts longer in the body.
The 3 main types of insulin analogs are:
Each type of insulin helps manage blood glucose. But no one type is right for everyone. Each person’s insulin need is different and may change over time. Your doctor will prescribe the insulin that is best for you.