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Drugs For Diabetes

Oct 31, 2007
Some people with diabetes may be able to control their blood glucose levels through diet and exercise however, the major will also require diabetes drugs to control the amount of sugar in their blood. Either diabetes is caused by the body not producing enough insulin to move the sugar from the blood into cells, where it is needed for energy, or the cells are not open to receive the sugar. In either event, the glucose is gathering in the blood with no way out and diabetes drugs can help it get through the system.

Persons with Type 2 diabetes are typically treated with oral medications, which are listed in five classifications. They are formulated to either increase the amount of insulin the body produces naturally, the effectiveness of how insulin works in the body or controls how the sugar is absorbed into the cells. Most diabetes drugs have few side effects, but all synthetic medications may create an adverse response in some patients and all side effects should be reported to the doctor. One of the earliest diabetes drugs developed is sulfonylurea, developed to help the body produce more insulin. This class of drug has been in use since the mid-1900's and has relatively few side effects.

Biguanides are a class of diabetes drugs usually prescribed to patients who are overweight. The most common brand name of this class of drug is Metformin and prompts the body to use the available insulin more effectively. These drugs have been known to cause nausea and diarrhea in some patients. Alpha-glycosidase inhibitors slow the absorption of insulin into the digestive tract, giving it time to help glucose find its way into the body's cells. Stomach and bowel problems are possible side effects of these diabetes drugs. Biguanides which reduces the glucose amount that is being produced by liver. Metformin is the common drug under this class. Metformin is more useful for obese diabetics because it can diminish the excretion of glucose and it also suppresses appetite.

How metformin increases insulin action is not known. In addition to suppression of hepatic glucose output, increased insulin-mediated glucose utilization in peripheral tissues (such as muscle and liver), particularly after meals, and an antilipolytic effect that lowers serum free fatty acid concentrations, thereby reducing substrate availability for gluconeogenesis, have been demonstrated.

Combination of Sulfonylurea and Biguanide which became available just recently. Before, patients are taking these two drugs separately; nowadays, one tablet with the combination of these drugs is effective in encouraging patient's compliance. Metformin and Glyburide are common examples of these drugs

Controlling how the body deals with sugar following meals as the function of the meglitinide class of diabetes drugs. Often used for patients whose blood sugar levels increase dramatically following meals. This class of drugs has shown few side effects. Thiazolidinediones are developed to help make the body's cells more sensitive to insulin, however the first batch of these diabetes drugs were suspected of causing liver damage in a few patients. Newer formulations are believed to be much safer, but doctors continually monitor patients for potential liver damage. Doctors may begin patients on one or more of the diabetes drugs, and make adjustments throughout their treatment to help patients maintain a balanced blood glucose level.
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