Diabetes Medications De-Mystifyed

Insulin helps blood sugar enter cells where it is utilized by the body to produce energy.  In Type I Diabetes, sometimes called Insulin Dependent Diabetes, the pancreas does not produce, or produces very little insulin.  Type II Diabetes, termed Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes, is a situation where the body has, over the years, become resistant to the effects of insulin or simply does not make enough insulin to keep up with the intake of sugar.

As technology has advanced, many different medication therapies have emerged for the treatment of both Type I and type II Diabetes.  In this blog, I will summarize the current FDA approved medications available for both Type I and Type II Diabetes treatment.  Please be aware, this is only a partial list of current therapies; however, it does include the most common medication treatments.  Over time I will continue to add to the blog in order to complete the list.  Medication Specific Counseling Sessions may be found at the AudibleRx website for any of the medications listed in this blog.

Insulin

Insulin treatment has been refined significantly over the past 20 years.  Initially, bovine, or pig, insulin was common practice.  Later, technology advance to produce synthetic insulin in the laboratory.  Included here are the two most recent developments in synthetic insulin therapy.

·       Insulin Lispro (Humalog-TM),  Insulin Aspart (Novolog-TM): These are a synthetic form of insulin very similar (in fact almost identical) to human insulin.  These medications helps regulate sugar metabolism by stimulating the transfer of sugar from the blood to the cells and also by decreasing the production of sugar by the liver.   These insulin's are usually used in conjunction with longer acting insulins to treat type 1 diabetes and may also be used in conjunction with longer acting insulins or oral diabetic medications to treat type 2 diabetes. 

·       Insulin Glargine (Lantus-TM), Insulin Detemir (Levemir-TM) These are synthetic form of insulin very similar to human insulin.  These medications help regulate sugar metabolism by stimulating the transfer of sugar from the blood to the cells and also by decreasing the production of sugar by the liver.   These insulins may be used in conjunction with a shorter acting insulins to treat type 1 diabetes and may also be used in conjunction with a shorter acting insulins or oral diabetic medications to treat type 2 diabetes.

Type II Oral Medication

·       Sulfonylureas: Glimepiride (AmarylTM), Glipizide (GlucotrolTM), Glyburide (DiabetaTM, MicronaseTM)   This category of medications stimulates specific cells in the pancreas to release more insulin. 

·       Biguanides: Metformin (GlucophageTM) Metformin works by decreasing production of glucose in the liver, decreasing absorption of glucose in the intestines and increasing our body’s sensitivity to the insulin we already produce.  If you take metformin, please take the time to educate yourself about the Black Box Warning by listening to the AudibleRx counseling session discussing metformin or by calling your pharmacist and discussing it. 

·       Thiazolidinediones:  Pioglitazone (ActosTM), Rosiglitazone (AvandiaTM)    This category of medications simply works by sensitizing the body to its own insulin.  .  If you take one of these medications, please take the time to educate yourself about the Black Box Warning by listening to the AudibleRx counseling session discussing pioglitazone or rosiglitazone or by calling your pharmacist and discussing it. 

·       DPP-4 Inhibitors:  Linagliptin (TradjentaTM), Sitagliptin (JanuviaTM)   The body produces natural hormones called incretins.  These incretins are produced at a low level on a regular basis, and in a larger amount in response to eating.  Incretins help control the body’s natural release of insulin in response to blood sugar.  The issue is, there is this enzyme called DPP-4 which breaks down the incretins really quickly.  This category of mediations works to block this enzyme so that the incretins stay around longer to help the body balance its own blood sugar.

Type II Diabetes Injectable Medications
  • GLP-1 Agonists: Exenatide (Byetta-TM), Exenatide ER (Bydureon-TM), Liraglutide (Victoza-TM)  This category of medications mimic the body's natural sugar-lowering hormone called incretin. They work by stimulating the pancreas to release insulin when blood sugar levels are high, such as after a meal. Insulin then helps move sugar from the blood into other body tissues where it is used for energy. This medication also slows the emptying of the stomach and causes a decrease in appetite.  Please note, this category is not a replacement for insulin.  These medications will not work in Type I diabetics where insulin injections are necessary for treatment.
To learn about the important patient counseling information on any of the medications listed in this blog, please visit the Diabetes page at www.AudibleRx.com and LISTEN to the Medication Specific Counseling Session you want to learn more about.

You may also be interested in reading:

·         A1C Test, what is it?

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Thanks
Steve

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