Diabetes is one of the leading causes of deaths all over the world, affecting people of all ages, sex, religion, and walks of life. Given this, it is very important to know that diabetes is a manageable disease especially with the correct choice of diabetic medications. Diabetes is a condition caused by extremely elevated blood sugar levels. That’s why diabetic drugs are primarily aimed at lowering the high blood sugar levels. Some of the drugs are also aimed at preventing the different complications of diabetes affecting the eyes, kidneys, and cardiovascular system. Listed below are the common classifications of diabetic medications prescribed for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
- Insulin. Insulin is the hormone that allows blood sugar to enter the cells to be used for energy production. It is also the most commonly used diabetic medication. Insulin is usually prescribed for Type 1 or the Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Type 2 diabetics also use insulin when they do not respond well to oral diabetic medications. Insulin is available in injections or insulin pump. Insulin are of different types, based on its duration of action (short acting, intermediate acting, rapid acting, long acting, and very long acting).
- Sulfonylureas. Sulfonylureas are drugs that stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas to produce more insulin. These drugs are often the first diabetic medication prescribed for type 2 diabetes. Common sulfonylureas include Glibenclamide, Gliquidone, and Glipizide. These oral drugs are relatively safe, but diabetics have to watch out for hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
- Biguanides. Metformin is the most commonly prescribed biguanide. Biguanides act on the liver to reduce glucose or sugar production. These diabetes drugs are used in cases of Type 2 diabetes, especially for obese patients. Biguanides are generally safe for use in prescribed dosage. Undirected use of biguanides can lead to lactic acidosis, a fatal condition in which the body produces lactic acid more than it can eliminate.
- Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors work by interfering with carbohydrate digestion in the small intestines to lessen the glucose transported into the bloodstream. The most common alpha-glucosidase inhibitors in the market are acarbose and miglitol.
- Meglitinides. Meglitinides act like sulphonylureas but for a shorter period. These medicines are prescribed to be taken at least half an hour before eating. Since meglitinides acts for shorter time, the risk for hypoglycemia is unlikely.
Sometimes, these diabetic medications are combined to get faster and effective effects on blood sugar levels. Prescription of diabetic medication depends on the type of diabetes and other existing health conditions. Healthy diet, regular exercise, and alcohol and cigarette restriction can help these drugs be more effective. Combining diabetic medications and healthy lifestyle changes are the best way to manage diabetes.