If you have been diagnosed or are living with type 2 diabetes you may eventually need medication to lower your blood glucose levels.
While you may not need it when you are first diagnosed, most people eventually need some form of medication at some stage in their life, as diabetes is a progressive disease. This could be oral medications, injectable medications or, in some cases, insulin.
Your doctor will tell you which kind of diabetes medication is right for you. Remember that the type of medication you require – and the dose – is likely to change over time, so you need to keep up regular contact with your doctor and your healthcare team.
Types of diabetes medication
There are several different kinds of medication for managing type 2 diabetes. They are grouped together according to the different ways they have of keeping your blood glucose levels within your target range. Most are available as a tablet, some are taken as an injection, and many can be taken in combination. Your doctor will prescribe the medications that are most suitable for you.
If you have started a new diabetes medication, your doctor may wish to see you more regularly to check your blood glucose levels and ask about any side effects or problems you might be having so they can decide whether your dose needs to be changed or whether to consider a different class of medication.
The approach to managing diabetes and the use of medications is different for everyone, so let your diabetes health professionals help you work out what kind of treatment is best for you.
Your pharmacist can also help you with information and advice about the medication you have been prescribed.
Even if you take medication, healthy eating and regular physical activity are still essential to help manage your diabetes.
Complementary or alternative medicines
The diabetes medications you are taking may be affected if you take complementary, alternative or over-the-counter medicines. Always talk to your GP, pharmacist or diabetes educator before starting any of these. They should NEVER REPLACE your prescribed medications.
Your medications should be reviewed every year as part of your diabetes annual cycle of care. This is a series of health checks that your GP can do to help you manage your condition.