Medication Rundown (Diabetes)
Confused about diabetes pills? There’s a host of medications available to control your blood glucose, but that doesn’t mean they’re all right for you. That’s because the type of medication you take is dependant on what’s causing your high blood glucose in the first place. Here’s a rundown of a few medications and how they work.
If you need to produce more insulin, sulfonylureas and meglitinides can help. Sulfonylureas work well, but can cause hypoglycemia and weight gain. Also, you can’t use them if you’re allergic to sulfa drugs or have problems with your kidneys.
Meglitinides (Prandin) are always taken before meals, so if you don’t eat, you don’t have to take it. Many patients appreciate this convenience, and it’s safe to take if you have kidney problems. One drawback: Some patients gain weight with this medication.
Two pills help glucose enter your cells more easily: thiazolidinediones (glitazones) and biguanides (metformin). You take glitazones only once a day and as a bonus, they lower your triglyceride levels. Unfortunately, however, they cause weight gain. Metformin does not cause weight gain or hypoglycemia and improves blood fats. Side effects, however, include nausea and diarrhea, and you can’t take it if you have kidney, heart, or liver problems, or if you drink alcohol excessively.
Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors block absorption of carbohydrate in your intestines, keeping glucose lower after a meal. You won’t gain weight, but gas, bloating, and diarrhea are common side effects.
There is a diabetes pill out there that’s right for you. Talk with your doctor and the rest of your diabetes care team to help determine which one is best.