Diabetes Drugs: What Are My Choices?

Diabetes Drugs: What Are My Choices?

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Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS

Written By Sarah Lewis, PharmD

Updated on August 4, 2020

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After a diagnosis of diabetes, the first thought on many people’s minds might be: Do I have to inject myself with insulin? The truth is that there are many choices beyond injectable insulin. You might be able to take a pill instead. The answer mainly depends on what type of diabetes you have.

What are my treatment choices for type 1 diabetes? Your choices are fairly limited for treating type 1 diabetes. That’s because your body doesn’t make any insulin at all in type 1 diabetes. To treat it, you must replace natural insulin with insulin injections or an alternative method, including insulin pens and pumps. There are a wide variety of insulin products on the market. Your individual needs will determine the kind of insulin you use.

Another injectable medicine that you can use to treat type 1 diabetes is called pramlintide (Symlin). Pramlintide is a man-made version of another hormone that your pancreas makes. Pramlintide works by slowing down your digestion. This keeps your blood sugar levels from going too high after meals. If you use Symlin, you still have to use insulin. They work together to treat your diabetes.

What are my treatment choices for type 2 diabetes? In type 2 diabetes, you have more varied treatment choices than in type 1 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin to meet your energy needs and your cells are resistant to it. To treat type 2 diabetes, you can use insulin and other injections, medicines that you take by mouth, or a combination of both.

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