Oral medications are effective at lowering blood sugar when diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to manage type 2 diabetes. However, oral medications aren’t perfect, and they don’t always work in the long term. Even if you’ve been taking your diabetes medication as your doctor prescribed, you might not feel as healthy as you should.
Diabetes drugs can and do stop working. About 5-10% of people with type 2 diabetes stop responding to their medication every year. If your oral diabetes medication is no longer working, you need to find out what’s preventing it from controlling your blood sugar before you explore other options.
Look at Your Daily Habits
When your oral diabetes drug stops working, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will want to know if anything in your routine has changed.
Many factors affect how your medication works. For example, weight gain, changes in your diet or activity level, or a recent illness may cause your medication to become less effective. Making changes to your diet or exercising more each day may get your blood sugar under control again.
It’s also possible that your diabetes has progressed. The beta cells in your pancreas that produce insulin can become less efficient over time. This can leave you with less insulin and poorer blood sugar control.
Your doctor may not always be able to find out why your medication stopped working. If the drug you’ve been taking is no longer effective, consider looking at other medications.
Add Another Drug
Metformin is often the first drug you’ll be prescribed to control type 2 diabetes. If metformin stops working, another step could be to add a second oral drug.
You might need more than one additional medication to achieve good blood sugar control. Some pills combine