Medications for Diabetes... how do they work?
Type 2 Diabetes is characterized by an inability to produce
adequate insulin. Insulin moves sugar from the blood into the cell.
Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes includes a healthy food plan,
exercise, weight loss, and oral medications or
insulin. What's the difference between oral medications and insulin?
Oral medications are only used by Type 2 patients.
These pill form medications work in a variety of ways. Here are some
examples of how oral medications work:
- Stimulate the pancreas cells to make more insulin.
The pancreas is an organ located close to your stomach and has a number of
functions, one of which is making insulin. Sulfonylureas and
meglitinides are medications helping to stimulate the pancreas to make
- Block the absorption of sugars. Alpha-glucosidase
inhibitors are an example of this type of medication.
- Promote the effectiveness of insulin produced. Thiazolidinediones are medications
effectiveness of insulin.
- Reduce the amount of sugar made in the liver. The liver is a great storage unit for energy.
In a fasted state, the liver supplies energy to the body. Limiting the
amount of sugar made in the liver can be helpful to some with high blood
Medications such as biguanides work to limit the amount of sugar made in the
Oral medications can be used alone or in combination.
Insulin is delivered to the body via injection. Those
with Type 1 Diabetes must take insulin to replace the insulin their body does
not produce. At times, someone with Type 2 Diabetes might take insulin to better
control blood sugar.
Talk with your doctor, pharmacist, and/or diabetes educator
about medications. Learn about side effects and how to take these medications for optimal benefits.