Diabetes causes high levels of blood glucose, or sugar, in the body, which is what happens when the body either cannot make or use insulin the way it should. Currently, there are many treatments for diabetes. Depending on the type of diabetes, type 1 or type 2, the medications to control diabetes will vary.
Regardless of the type of diabetes a patient has, they will need to use medications to help them keep their blood sugar levels normal.
Medications to Control Diabetes (Type 1)
The most common medication for type 1 diabetes is insulin, which is used to increase the levels of insulin naturally in the body to help balance blood sugar levels. Patients with type 2 diabetes can also use insulin. Administration of insulin is in the form of injections. Based on the severity and type of the patient’s insulin depletion, different types of insulin injections are available.
Regular insulin (Humulin and Novolin) is short-acting insulin. Rapid-acting insulins include insulin aspart (NovoLog, FlexPen), insulin glulisine (Apidra), and insulin lispro (Humalog). There are also types of intermediate-acting insulin, long-acting insulin, and combination insulins.
The other kind of medication that treats type 1 diabetes is pramlintide, which is an amylinomimetic drug. Pramlintide also an injection, but is administered to the patient before meals. It delays the time it takes for the stomach to empty, thus reducing glucagon secretion after meals and helping to lower blood sugar.
Medications to Control Diabetes (Type 2)
Other than insulin, for type 2 patients, medications to control diabetes include alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. These help the body to break down starchy foods and table sugar, hence lowering blood sugar levels.
Another drug available to treat type 2 diabetes is Biguanides. These work by limiting the amount of sugar produced by the liver. They also decrease how much sugar is absorbed by the intestines, make the body more sensitive to insulin, and help the muscles to absorb glucose.
There are many other medications that can be used to help treat type 2 diabetes. For a complete list, consult with your doctor.
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