Diabetes Basics

Types Of Diabetes Pills


Each of the six categories of diabetes pills work differently from the other, which is precisely why a combination therapy can be the best choice you have. But before you do anything drastic, know first what each of these drugs do and discuss with your doctor how best to approach treatment of the disease.

Sulfonylureas
A diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes means that your pancreas does not produce enough insulin. The function of sulfonylureas is to stimulate insulin production so that glucose may enter the cells and be utilized as energy for the body, resulting in lowered glucose levels in the blood.

Some potential side effects of this drug are: constipation, heartburn, low blood glucose (only if the dose of pills is too high), nausea, skin rash or itching, upset stomach, and weight gain. But not everyone who takes sulfonylureas will experience these side effects.

Biguanides
These drugs work by: decreasing production of glucose in the liver, decreasing absorption of glucose in the small intestine, and improving your ability to use insulin by improving insulin sensitivity of cells.

One of the many reasons why blood glucose levels in the body is abnormally high in the body of a diabetic is that the cells do not respond to the insulin produced by the pancreas. Therefore, even though your insulin production is normal, because of your cell’s insensitivity to the hormone, it results to the same thing: high blood sugar levels.

By improving your body’s response to insulin, biguanides can help lower sugar levels in the bloodstream.

Some potential side effects include: diarrhea, stomach upset, metallic taste in mouth, diminished appetite, weakness, tiredness, dizziness, and irregular heartbeat. If you experience any of these, consult your doctor immediately.

Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors
Alpha-glucosidase is the main digestive enzyme that breaks down starch into glucose. So when you eat or right after, your blood glucose levels are usually high because of the action of this particular enzyme.

The function of alpha-glucosidase inhibitors is to stop alpha-glucosidase from breaking down starch right away, allowing for a much slower breakdown of food and lower rise of sugar in your blood throughout the day.

Potential side effects of this drug include: abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas, and skin rash. Persons with a history of stomach or bowel problems are not advised to use this particular drug.

Thiazolidinediones
Thiazolidinediones works in two ways: increasing the sensitivity of insulin receptors found in cell membranes and decreasing the production of glucose in the liver. This results in better response to insulin, allowing the glucose to enter the cells for energy use, which would in turn lead to lowered glucose levels in the blood.

Taking thiazolidinediones may result in the following side effects: jaundice or the yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes, headache, anemia, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, weight gain, stomach pain, edema (swelling of legs, ankles, and feet), cough, fatigue, and dark colored urine.

Meglitinides
Meglitinides is recommended taken after meals. The drug works quickly, allowing for flexibility, which makes it ideal also for people who do not follow a regular meal schedule.

The function of this drug is to increase the production of insulin in the pancreas. This will help glucose move from the bloodstream into the cells so that it may be used for energy production of the body.

The potential side effects of meglitinides include: body aches, constipation, weight gain, hypoglycemia (or low blood glucose, as a result of too high a dosage), and diarrhea. If you experience any of these effects while taking meglitinides, talk with your doctor.