Chapter Oral Medications

Oral Medications for Type II Diabetes

Questions and Answers

Sometimes diet alone is not enough to control Type II diabetes. Your doctor may prescribe oral hypoglycemic agents (pills) as a supplement to diet and exercise for controlling your diabetes. There are several kinds of pills for helping to lower blood sugar. None of these pills is insulin! If diet, exercise, and oral hypoglycemic agents are not enough to control your blood sugar, then insulin may be needed.

• One kind of pills uses a sulfa-containing compound that helps you stay in balance by 1)

squeezing more insulin out of your beta cells and 2) improving insulin's ability to move glucose into your body's cells. These pills are called "sulfonylurea" pill s. They can often be taken once or twice a day.

• Another new kind of pill also helps squeeze more insulin out of your beta cells, but it is short-acting and is meant to be taken before meals. It is called "Prandin."

• Another kind of pill helps you stay in balance mostly by decreasing the amount of sugar (glucose) that your liver makes. This is called a "biguanide" type pill.

• Another kind of pill improves insulin's ability to move glucose into your cells. This kind of pill is relatively new and is called a "thiazolidinedione" type pill. (Isn't that a mouthful!)

• There is also a kind of pill that works in a different way. These act by interfering with the absorption of sugar after meals. There is only one such pill, acarbose, available at this time.

The different kinds of pills can be given alone or together. They are sometimes also used together with insulin to improve your control and reduce the amount of insulin you must take. A list of the various pills

Oral Medications (Pills) for Diabetes is given below.

Pills ALONE are NEVER used to treat type I (juvenile) diabetes, and their use during pregnancy is STRONGLY discouraged because they might be harmful to the baby.

• My first oral medication:_

• My second oral medication:

Oral hypoglycemic pills do not cure diabetes, they only help to control it. When taking pills, you must still follow your meal and exercise plans, monitor your blood glucose daily, and if you are overweight, follow your weight reduction plan.

Oral hypoglycemic agents may help until you lose weight, but maintaining your ideal weight is the best way to stay in balance.


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