Home Diabetes Basics Control Medications for Diabetes

Medications for Diabetes

medications for diabetesWhile healthy eating and exercise can help you manage the ABCs of diabetes, most people also need medication to reach their target ABC goals. Diabetes pills or insulin shots, pills for high blood pressure and cholesterol, and even aspirin may be part of your diabetes treatment plan. Different diabetes medicines work in different ways to keep your blood sugar on track. Some people take one kind of pill. Others tale two kinds of pills or a combination pill because the drugs work even better together. Some people take pills and insulin or just plain insulin. Over time, changes in the tpes or amount of medicinesa needed to keep A1C levels on target.

Blood Sugar Medications

  • Thiazolidinediones (TZDs or glitazones) - Lower insulin resistance by making the cells in the body more sensitive to its own natural insulin.
  • Biguanides - Lower insulin resistance in the liver and possibly other body cells as well.
  • Sulfonylureas - Stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin.
  • Meglitinides - Stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin.
  • alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors - Slow the digestion of some carbohydrates. Post prandial (after-meal) blood sugar peaks aren't as high.
  • Insulin - All people with type 1 and some people with type 2 diabetes take insulin daily to control their blood sugar. There are different kinds of insulin that work at different speeds. If you take insulin, your health care team will help you develop an insulin routine that keeps your blood sugar near normal helps you feel good, and fits your lifestyle.

Many people with diabetes also take other medications to help manage related health problems and reduce their risk for heart attack and stroke. These medicines may include:

Blood Pressure Medications

For many people, one or more medications are need to lower blood pressure to target levels. There are several types of medications that have been shown to lower blood pressure, including:

  • Diuretics
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Beta Blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers

Some blood pressure medicines have been shown to protect your kidneys from disease and to reduce you chance for having a heart attack or stroke. Your health care provider will help you determine which medicines are most appropriate.

Cholesterol Medications

If your cholesterol levels cannot be managed through meal planning and exercise, it's time to try medication. One of several classes of drugs may be prescribed: statins, bile acid sequestrants, fabric acids, nicotinic acid, or a cholesterol adsorption inhibitor. The most effective cholesterol-lowering drugs are statins. This class of drug helps reduce the amount of cholesterol your body produces naturally.


Your healthcare team may also recommend that you take aspirin daily to reduce your chance for having a heart attack or stroke. Aspirin works by thinning your blood and making it less likely to clot.

Taking multiple medications can be hard. Read the following tips to help you remember to take your medicine.

  • Ask when to take each medicine. If the drug does not fit into your daily schedule (for example, a dose must be taken while you are en route to work), tell you doctor.
  • Make sure you can read the label and the label and the instructions are clear.
  • Link as many medicines as possible to recurring daily events - getting up, eating, brushing teeth, watching the 6:00 news, going to bed. Make sure any pills you take at mealtime can be taken with food.
  • Keep your medicines in plain view if possible. This tip may be unsafe if children live at or visit your home.
  • Put out a reminder note where you'll see it.
  • Set your watch, your computer, or a kitchentimes to beep when it's time for your next dose. Use a daily or weekly pill box (available at drug stores)
  • Make a weekly chart showing when each medicine should be taken. Each time you take a medicine, check it off on the chart.

Work with your diabetes care provider to determine the best approach for treating your ABCs of diabetes.