Type 2 Diabetes Medications to Manage Blood Glucose
By Hope Warshaw, RD, CDE and Susan Sloane, R.Ph., CDE, CPT, Reviewed 2013
Over the last 15 years, the understanding of type 2 diabetes as well as its management has advanced by leaps and bounds. It's now well known that type 2 is a progressive disease, which means that to stay healthy over the years, you'll likely need to take from one to several types of blood glucose-lowering medicines. That's why it's important to work with your health care provider over time to track your treatment to keep your blood glucose in control.
Know Your Blood Glucose-Lowering Meds
It's important to understand how each of the blood glucose-lowering medications you take works -- and to take them according to your health care provider's instructions.
- Stay informed. Ask your health care providers or pharmacist if you don't understand something about one or more of the medications you take.
- Ask about how long it will take for a new medication to start to lower your blood glucose and become maximally effective. Some start working immediately, while others take longer to become maximally effective.
- Ask about how many points (milligrams/deciliter, or mg/dl) you can expect a new medication to lower your blood glucose and your A1C (average blood glucose over time, given as a percentage). Ask what the maximum dose of the medication is, so you'll know if you are taking a small dose or the most that can be prescribed.
- Determine the best times of day to take medications. Try to take them as directed and at similar times each day.
- Know the possible side effects (positive and negative), how to deal with them, and when to alert your provider if you have problems.
- Realize that your provider prescribes medications based on your health history and the other medications (prescribed or over-the-counter) you take. Be honest about all the medications, dietary supplements, etc., that you take or use.
- Check your blood glucose as directed, and learn how your prescribed medication changes may affect it.