What Medications Are Used to Treat Type 2 Diabetes?

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Over the past several months you have been experiencing fatigue,
weakness, blurry vision, weight loss and an increase in both thirst and
urination...you are concerned so you make an appointment with your health
care provider...after some tests your health care provider breaks the news
to you...you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a chronic
condition that affects the way the body metabolizes sugar....instantly you
wonder...how will my health care provider treat my type 2 diabetes? There
are several treatment strategies your health care provider can use to
treat your type 2 diabetes...however one of the more common treatment
strategies involves medications.

What oral medications are used to treat type 2 diabetes?
Five of the more common oral medications used to treat type 2 diabetes
include: metformin (Glucophage), glipizide (Glucotrol), glimepiride
(Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta) and pioglitazone (Actos).

How does metformin work?
Metformin helps individuals manage their type 2 diabetes by decreasing
glucose production/absorption and improving insulin sensitivity.

What is the typical starting dose for metformin?
The recommended initial adult dose of metformin for the treatment of type 2 diabetes is 500 mg twice daily or 850 mg once daily.

When should metformin be taken?
Metformin should be taken with meals. For example, if an individual is
prescribed metformin 500 mg three times per day...they should take 500 mg
with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What are typical metformin side effects?
The typical side effects of metformin include: diarrhea, indigestion,
abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, weakness and headaches.

How does glipizide work?
Glipizide helps individuals manage their type 2 diabetes by stimulating insulin release and improving insulin sensitivity.

What is the typical starting dose for glipizide?
The recommended initial adult dose of glipizide for the treatment of type 2 diabetes is 5 mg once daily.

When should glipizide be taken?
Immediate release glipizide should be taken 30 minutes before a meal.

What are typical glipizide side effects?
The typical side effects of glipizide include: dizziness, nervousness,
anxiety, insomnia, abdominal discomfort, nausea, tremor, leg cramps and
blurry vision.

How does glimepiride work?
Glimepiride helps individuals manage their type 2 diabetes by stimulating insulin release and improving insulin sensitivity.

What is the typical starting dose for glimepiride?
The recommended initial adult dose of glimepiride for the treatment of type 2 diabetes is 1-2 mg once daily.

When should glimepiride be taken?
Glimepiride should be taken with the first main meal of each day.

What are typical glimepiride side effects?
The typical side effects of glimepiride include: low blood sugar, dizziness, headaches and nausea.

How does glyburide work?
Glyburide helps individuals manage their type 2 diabetes by stimulating insulin release and improving insulin sensitivity.

What is the typical starting dose for glyburide?
The recommended initial adult dose of glyburide regular tablets for the treatment of type 2 diabetes is 2.5-5 mg daily.

When should glyburide be taken?
Glyburide should be taken with meals at the same time each day.

What are typical glyburide side effects?
The typical side effects of glyburide include: low blood sugar,
dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, rash and blurry
vision.

How does pioglitazone work?
Pioglitazone helps individuals manage their type 2 diabetes by lowering blood glucose.

What is the typical starting dose for pioglitazone?
The recommended initial adult dose of pioglitazone for the treatment of type 2 diabetes is 15-30 mg once daily.

When should pioglitazone be taken?
Pioglitazone should be taken at the same time every day.

What are typical pioglitazone side effects?
The typical side effects of pioglitazone include: low blood sugar, upper respiratory tract infections, edema, and headaches.

About the Author

Marc Macera, PharmD, RPh's picture

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