August 01, 2020

Diabetes medications

Weighing the options

You were already overwhelmed when your doctor first diagnosed you with type 2 diabetes. You did all you could: improved your diet, cut out sugary sodas and juices, used your gym membership, and even shed a few pounds.

But now your doctor has said that in addition to all that, you need medication to manage your diabetes — and you're utterly confused by the long list of drug options.

The good news is that the many available options make it more likely that you and your health care provider will find treatment options that work best for you — and a close look at the pros and cons of each choice can help.

Type 2

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body uses the sugar in your blood (glucose) — an important source of fuel for your body.

With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin — a hormone that enables sugar to enter your cells — or doesn't produce enough insulin. Instead of moving into your body's cells where it's needed for energy, sugar builds up in your bloodstream. This means your blood sugar levels are too high (hyperglycemia).

Poor long-term management of these blood sugar levels can lead to complications such as kidney damage, heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, vision loss and foot problems.

A healthy diet, weight control and physical activity provide the foundation for managing type 2 diabetes. However, diabetes drugs or insulin therapy also may be necessary.

The decision about which medications are best...