What you need to know about Type 2 diabetes medications


There are so many Type 2 diabetes medications – what you need to know

Type 2 diabetes medications are generally the first course of action once you’ve been diagnosed. My doctor prescribed Metformin as they told me I had Prediabetes. It was one motion, tell me and prescribe.

Being diagnosed with prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes is scary. Prediabetes is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal.

This is due to being insulin resistant. When the cells resist insulin, they do not allow glucose into the cell. This causes the glucose level in the blood to remain high. Prediabetes can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.

90 to 951 percent of all diabetes cases are Type 2. Type 2 diabetes is most common in people over the age of 45. More and more young people are being diagnosed these days.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where your body may make insulin, but it can’t use it as it should. This leads to a wide variety of health problems.

High blood sugar damages blood vessels. This causes high blood pressure. It also causes heart, kidney, and eye damage. We want to stop this as soon as we can. Medication is one way to manage your blood sugar. It is however more important to work on a healthy lifestyle and dietary changes. 

Think of Type 2 diabetes medications as a window of opportunity. It buys you some time to make changes.

The first thing your doctor will likely recommend is a type 3 diabetes medication. The goal of medication for Type 2 diabetes is to lower your blood sugar. This can help prevent damage to your body.

Type 2 Diabetes medications:


These type 2 diabetes medications help your liver produce less sugar. They can help make you more insulin sensitive. They also help your body tissues like muscles absorb more glucose.

The most prescribed medication for Type 2 diabetes is Metformin. Metformin is also known as Glucophage, Glumetza, Riomet, and Fortamet.

Metformin is often combined with other drugs. Your doctor can talk with you about which combination will be best for you.

  • Metformin
Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors

A class of medications called Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors can help you break down sugars. It also helps break down starches. This can lower your blood sugar. These medications are taken before meals.

  • Miglitol (Glyset)
  • Acarbose (Precose)

Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors

These drugs improve the production of insulin in the body. They reduce blood sugar and prevent low blood sugar.

They may also encourage the pancreas to produce insulin. These are often combined with other drugs. Your doctor can best tell you which will work for you.

  • Alogliptin
  • Linagliptin
  • Saxagliptin
  • Sitagliptin


Be careful if you are prone to low blood sugar. These drugs may not be for you. These medications encourage your body to release more insulin.

  • Nateglinide (Starlix)
  • Repaglinide (Prandin)

Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 receptor agonists)

Your body creates a hormone called incretin. Incretins manage the release of insulin in response to the food you’ve eaten. These drugs act in a similar fashion to this hormone. Incretin has an important role in glucose tolerance.

They can suppress your appetite. They cause your stomach to process food slower than normal. 

  • albiglutide 
  • dulaglutide 
  • exenatide 
  • liraglutide 
  • semaglutide

Ozempic is the brand name for Semaglutide. It is extremely popular right now. If you want to know which is better for Type 2 Diabetes, Metformin or Ozempic, read more here. 

Dopamine agonist

It’s not well understood how this drug helps treat Type 2 diabetes. It’s used to help with insulin resistance.

It’s also used to treat the overproduction of prolactin. This overproduction leads to fertility problems in people.

  • Bromocriptine

Sodium-glucose transporter (SGLT) 2 inhibitors

These inhibitors stop the kidneys from hanging on to glucose. It encourages the body to dump the glucose into the urine instead.

  • Dapagliflozin 
  • Canagliflozin 
  • Empagliflozin 
  • Ertugliflozin 


This class of medication encourages your fat cells to better use insulin. They also lower glucose in your liver.

If you have a family history of heart disease this may not be for you.

  • Rosiglitazone
  • Pioglitazone 


These medications have been used to treat diabetes for almost 50 years2. They encourage the pancreas to create more insulin.

  • Glimepiride 
  • Gliclazide
  • Glipizide 
  • Glyburide 
  • Chlorpropamide 
  • Tolazamide
  • Tolbutamide 

Some people with prediabetes or Type 2 will need insulin. Insulin injections work to replace the insulin your body can no longer create.

Click here to read about Starting Insulin Injections

Remember, Type 2 diabetes is reversible. It comes on in stages. It does not happen overnight. Making the recommended diet and lifestyle changes is critical. It can help prevent your body from needing insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes is a complicated condition. It’s common to have heart, kidney, and high blood pressure issues.

Talk with your doctor about which Type 2 diabetes medications will benefit you the most. Monitoring your blood sugar and having regular checkups with your doctor are key. 

To join our free educational Type 2 Diabetes Facebook community click here

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/type2.html#:~:text=Healthy%20eating%20is%20your%20recipe,them%20have%20type%202%20diabetes.
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4548036/#:~:text=Sulfonylureas%20have%20been%20extensively%20used,of%20this%20devastating%20chronic%20illness.

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