Classes of Oral Type 2 Diabetes Medicines

There are several classes of oral medicines that have been developed to treat people with type 2 diabetes. It is high blood sugar caused by the body being resistant to insulin and insulin production being inadequate to make up for this resistance. Insulin works by stimulating the body to absorb blood sugar. The classes of oral diabetes medications include:

  • Sulfonylureas (Glyburide, glipizide, glimepiride) – stimulate insulin release from the pancreas

  • Metformin – reduces production of glucose by the liver

  • Thiazolidinediones (Piaglitazone, rosiglitazone) – sensitize the body’s tissues to insulin and reduces insulin resistance

  • Medications that affect the absorption of glucose (acarbose) – reduce the body’s absorption of glucose

  • DPP-4 inhibitors (Sitagliptin, saxigliptin) – stimulate insulin release from the pancreas, suppresses glucose production in the liver

Side Effects

Most people who are prescribed these medications are able to enjoy their beneficial effects without experiencing bothersome side effects. Unfortunately, a small percentage of people taking oral diabetes medications may experience side effects that depend upon the class of oral agent being taken. Potential side effects include low blood sugar, weight gain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fluid retention and swelling, decreased bone density, excessive gas, pancreatitis, and lactic acidosis. Ensure that you discuss any potential side effects with your healthcare provider immediately who may need to choose an alternative medicine to treat your condition.

 Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 is high blood sugar caused by the body being resistant to insulin and insulin production being inadequate to make up for this resistance.

Special Considerations

When you are prescribed oral diabetes medicines your health care provider will take several factors into consideration. These factors include:

  • Sulfonylureas should not be used in patients with severe kidney or liver problems

  • Metformin should not be used in patients with kidney disease and should be halted temporarily in patients who are undergoing certain special x-ray procedures

  • Thiazolidinediones should not be used in patients with congestive heart failure

Initiation of insulin injections are necessary if there is inadequate control of blood sugars with oral diabetes medicines

The Importance of Compliance

Seeing your healthcare provider on a routine basis is not enough if you do not follow the instructions that have been given once a health and wellness concern is identified. One of the most important steps that you can take to prevent worsening of your health is to take any medications that are prescribed. Most people will require lifetime treatment with medications for certain chronic diseases, but some will be able to eventually stop taking their medicines if strict compliance with diet and lifestyle changes can be maintained. Chronic health problems such as diabetes type 2, hypertension, and high cholesterol are significant contributors to worse events such as heart attack, cerebrovascular accident or stroke, and congestive heart failure if not appropriately managed.