Diabetes Medications

By |2018-07-03T14:51:07+00:00Updated: July 5th, 2014|Diabetes Management, DIY Diabetes Articles|0 Comments

Oral Medications

Below are a list of oral medications listed by brands. See what their generics are, how the medication works, and what you should know about it.

Glyburide (Micronase, Diabeta and Glynase)

  • This medication works by encouraging the pancreas to produce more insulin.
  • May cause low blood sugar.
  • Be cautious if you have an alergy to sulfa medication.

Glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL)

  • This medication encourages the pancreas to produce more insulin.
  • May cause low blood sugar.
  • Be cautious if you have an alergy to sulfa medication.

Glimepride (Amaryl)

  • Encourages the pancreas to produce more insulin.
  • May cause low blood sugar.
  • Be cautious if you have an allergy with sulfa medication.

Regaplinide (Prandin)

  • Encourages the pancreas to produce more insulin in response to carbhydrates at meals.
  • May cause low blood sugar.
  • Be cautious if you have a sulfa allergy.
  • Ideally taken between 0-30 minutes before each meal that has carbohydrates in it.

Netglinide (Starlix)

  • This medication encourages the pancreas to produce more insulin in response to carbohydrates at a meal.
  • May cause low blood sugar.
  • Be cautious if you have a sulfa allergy.
  • Ideally taken between 0-30 minutes before each meal that has carbohydrates in it.

Metformin (Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glumetza, Fortamet, Riomet liquid form)

  • This medication helps the body use insulin more efficiently and decreases the glucose produced by the liver.
  • Possible gastrointestinal upsets may subside in 2-3 weeks.
  • Be cautious if you have kidney or respiratory disease, are taking medications for heart failure, or for those over 80 years old.
  • Metformin is not recommended for people with liver disease or who drink alcohol excessively.
  • Take with meals to decrease possible GI effects.

Acarbose (Precose)

  • Slows the digestion of carbohydrate foods.
  • Possible gastrointestinal upsets which include excess gas (flatulence) or bloating.
  • Take medication with the first bite of each meal.
  • Be cautious if you have inflammatory bowel disease, other intestinal diseases or bowel obstructions.

Migitol (Glyset)

  • Slows the digestion of carbohydrate foods.
  • Possible gastrointestinal upsets which include excess gas (flatulence) or bloating.
  • Take medication with the first bite of each meal.
  • Be cautious if you have inflammatory bowel disease, other intestinal diseases or bowel obstructions.

Rosiglitazone (Avandia)

  • Helps the body use insulin more efficiently.
  • May cause water retention.
  • Monitor with liver function tests.
  • Not recommended for people with heart failure.
  • May take 3-6 weeks to see the full effect on blood sugar.

Pioglitzaone (Actos)

  • Helps the body use insulin more efficiently.
  • May cause water retention.
  • Monitor with liver function tests.
  • Not recommended for people with heart failure.
  • May take 3-6 weeks to see the full effect on blood sugar.

Sitigliptin Phosphate (Januvia)

  • Helps pancreas make more insulin.
  • Prevents the liver from releasing too much glucose.
  • Does not usually cause hypoglycemia.
  • Possible side effects: Upper respiratory infection, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat and headache.

Combination Medications

Below are a list of oral medications listed by brands. See what their generics are, how the medication works, and what you should know about it.

Combination Medications
AvandametAvandia and Metformin
GlucovanceGlyburide and Metformin
MetaglipGlipizide and Metformin
ActosplusMetActos and Metformin
AvandarylAvandia and Amaryl
JanumetJanuvia and Metformin
DuetactActos and Amaryl

Injectable, Non-Insulin Medications

Below are a list of Injectable, Non-Insulin medications listed by brands. See what their generics are, how the medication works, and what you should know about it.

Exenatide (Byetta)

  • Increases insulin production.
  • Decreases sugar production by the liver.
  • Reduces appetite.
  • Reduces high post-prandial(after-eating) glucose.
  • Delays stomach emptying Injection is twice a day within 60 minutes of the morning and evening meals.
  • Treats Type 2 diabetes.
  • Caution use if you have GERD/reflux.
  • May cause nausea when first starting drug but it should decrease over time.
  • Talk to doctor/nurse about side effects you may experience.

Pramlintide (Symlin)

  • Decreases sugar production by the liver.
  • Reduces appetite.
  • Reduces high post-prandial (after-eating) glucose.
  • Injection is given at mealtimes.
  • Treats Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Used with insulin to lower blood sugar, especially for after-eating glucose.
  • May lower the amount of insulin you currently inject.

Injectable, Insulin Medications

Below are a list of Injectable Insulin medications listed by brands. See what their generics are, how the medication works, and what you should know about it.

Novolog (Aspart), Humalog (Lispro), Apidra (Glulisine)

  • Rapid-Acting.
  • Starts working quickly and is effective for a short period of time.
  • Should look clear.
  • Take 5-10 minutes before meal.

Novolin R (Regular human insulin), Humulin R (Regular Humulin insulin)

  • Short or Fast-Acting.
  • Starts working relatively quickly and is effective for a fairly short period of time.
  • Should look clear.
  • Take 30 minutes before meal.

Novolin N (NPH human insulin), Humalin N (NPH human insulin)

  • Intermediate-Acting.
  • Starts working a little later but lasts a little bit longer.
  • Looks cloudy.
  • Take once or twice daily AM and/or PM.

Lantus (Glargine), Levemir (Detemir)

  • Long-Acting.
  • Starts very slowly and lasts a long time – nearly without a peak.
  • Should look clear.
  • Usually taken once daily or twice if needed.

Pre-mixed Insulin – Combinations of the above types

Novolog Mix 70/30, Humalog Mix 75/25, Humalog Mix 50/50

  • Rapid-Acting Mix
  • Looks cloudy
  • All are a mix of rapid-acting and intermediate-acting insulin.
  • Take 5-10 minutes before meal.

Novolin 70/30, Humulin 70/30

  • Short or Fast-Acting Mix
  • Looks cloudy
  • All are a mix of short-acting and intermediate-acting insulin.
  • Take 30 minutes before meal.
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About the Author:

Marci SloaneMarci Sloane, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist and certified diabetes educator. She grew up in NYC where she graduated with a degree in Nutrition and Physiology from Teachers College at Columbia University. For over a decade, Marci managed a Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center at a multi-bed hospital in South Florida and has been counseling people on healthy eating, weight loss, and managing diseases and conditions such as: diabetes, pre-diabetes, healthy eating, heart disease, weight loss, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, hypertension, hypoglycemia and a host of other nutrition-related diseases. Marci is an American Diabetes Association Valor Award recipient and lectures frequently to the public and healthcare professionals. Marci was a featured panelist for the Sun-Sentinel's "Let's Take It Off" weight loss program, was highlighted in the Palm Beach Post: Meet Your Neighbor, "Woman's book on healthy eating uses humor as a key ingredient" and was a participant in their Diabetes Series in 2007. Marci Sloane is a member of the American Diabetes Association’s Health Professional Committee.

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