The Main Types Of Diabetes Medication

According to statistics from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes and nearly 1.4 million are newly diagnosed each year. While the numbers suggest that it’s a disease nearing epidemic levels in the U.S., it’s also fortunate that there are a variety of medications to treat it.

Diabetes Medications

Here’s a look at some of those medications and the type of diabetes that they treat.

Type 1 Diabetes Medications

People with type 1 diabetes must use insulin because the pancreas no longer makes insulin and patients needs insulin injections to use glucose from meals. Insulin is the most common type of medication used in type 1 treatment. There are different types of insulin used depending on the amount of insulin depletion the patient has:

Short-acting insulin
This type of insulin reaches the bloodstream within 30 minutes after injection and is effective for three to six hours. Humulin and Novolin are types of short-acting – or regular – insulin.

Rapid-acting insulin
Rapid-acting insulin starts to work 15 minutes after injection and continues to work for two to four hours. Types of this insulin are Apidra, Humalog and NovoLog.

Intermediate-acting insulin
This type of insulin reaches your bloodstream about two to four hours after injection and is effective for about 12 to 18 hours. Types are Humulin N and Novolin N.

Long-acting insulin
Long-acting insulin doesn’t reach the bloodstream until many hours after injection and tends to work over a 24-hour period. Insulin detemir and insulin glargine are types of long-acting insulin.

It’s important to remember that insulin can’t be taken as a pill, but must be injected under the fat of your skin for it to get into your blood.

Type 2 diabetes medications

Unlike people with type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes make insulin but need medication (either pills or insulin shots) to help their bodies use glucose for energy.

Among the many types to medications used to treat type 2 diabetes include:

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors
These types of medications help your body break down starchy foods and table sugar. These drugs include acarbose and miglitol.

This type of medication decreases how much sugar your liver makes. The most commmon form is metformin, which can also be combined with other drugs to treat type 2 diabetes.

Bromocriptine is a type of dopamine agonist.

DPP-4 inhibitors
These types of inhibitors help the body continue to make insulin. Among the types of DPP-4 inhibitors are alogliptin, linagliptin, saxagliptin and sitagliptin.

Glucagon-like peptides
These drugs increase B-cell growth as well as decreasing your appetite and how much glucagon your body uses. Types include albiglutide, dualglutide, exanatide and liraglutide.

This type of medication helps your body release insulin, but they can also lower your blood sugar and must be used with caution. Types of meglitinides include nateglinide, repaglinide and repaglinide-metformin.

Sodium glucose transporter
This type of drug works by prevent the kidneys from holding onto glucose. These drugs include dapagliflozin, cangliflozin, and empaglifozin.

Among the older diabetes drugs still in use, this type of medication stimulate the pancreas with the help of beta cells. Among their types are glimepiride, gliclazide, glipzide, glyburide, chlorpropamide, tolazamide, and tolbutamide.

These drugs help your fat cells use insulin better while also decreasing glucose in your liver. These drugs include: rosiglitazone, pioglitazone, and pioglitazone.

People with both types of diabetes often need other medications to treat conditions that are common with diabetes, including aspirin for heart health, drugs for high cholesterol, and high blood pressure medications.