Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas and this leads the blood glucose levels to rise. Type 2 diabetes is usually developed in adults over the age of 45 years and is more likely in people with a family history of type 2 diabetes or from particular ethnic backgrounds. Some type 2 diabetics tend to follow balanced diet and practice regular exercise rather than taking medication.
But when these measures fail to achieve the desired results, oral medications are prescribed by doctors to reduce the elevated blood sugar levels. Given below are some of the common type 2 medications:
• DPP-4 Inhibitors: These drugs are used to block an enzyme (DPP-4) that normally deactivates a protein (GLP-1) that keeps insulin circulating in the blood. By slowing the deactivation process they help to reduce the glucose levels in the body. Januvia is one of the most common DPP-4 inhibitors which is approved by FDA. It is an oral medication that is taken only once a day.
• Sulfonylureas: These are the oldest type of the oral diabetes medication and they were the only drug to treat type 2 diabetes until 1995. The main function of these drugs is to stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin. Hypoglycemia is one of their most common side effects. Orinase, Tolinase, Glucotrol XL, Micronase, Diabeta, and Amaryl are some known drugs in this category.
• GLP-1 Agonists: These drugs reduce the levels of glucagon that is used to generate more glucose and insulin in the blood stream. They are also used to reduce weight in diabetic patients. These drugs may cause a more drastic kind of pancreatitis. Some of the GLP-1 Agonists medications include Byetta and Victoza.
• Incretin Mimetics: They act like incretin hormones which stimulate insulin secretion. Moreover, they help to slow the rate at which your stomach empties after eating and as a result prevent a steep rise in postprandial blood glucose levels. Byetta is an injectable medication that helps control blood sugar levels. It is used for type 2 diabetes only and is used together with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control. It is not insulin and cannot be given with insulin. This medication stimulates your pancreas to produce insulin more efficiently.