Understanding Your Diabetes Medication & Treatment Options

Woman injecting insulinYou might be surprised to know that 9 out of 10 people with diabetes require diabetes medication, insulin injections or both to manage blood glucose—also called blood sugar. Keeping blood glucose under control is important to reduce your risk of developing diabetes-related complications.

The type of medicine you take depends on several factors such as your type of diabetes, how well the medicine controls blood glucose levels, your health conditions, medication cost and your daily schedule.

Insulin

If you have type 1 diabetes, you need to take insulin on a daily basis because your body no longer makes insulin. (As a reminder, insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas that helps your body us glucose for energy.) Historically, people with type 2 diabetes only got insulin as a last resort. However recent research has led to a paradigm shift; insulin therapy is now initiated much earlier in the course of type 2 diabetes. In fact, many people with type 2 diabetes are treated with insulin in combination with oral medications—pills taken by mouth.

There are several types of insulin available. Each type has a different time of onset (how soon it starts to work), peak (when it has the strongest effect) and duration (how long its effect lasts).

There are also several ways to take insulin depending on your lifestyle, insurance plan and preference. Insulin is commonly injected using a syringe, pen or insulin pump. Inhalers, injection ports and jet injectors are also available.

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