Non-insulin diabetes treatment

Non-insulin diabetes treatment

Did you know that more than 37 million people (about twice the population of New York) in the US are diagnosed with diabetes which means 1 out of 10 people have diabetes? Most of them have type 2 diabetes. Usually, people with type 2 diabetes don’t need insulin treatment because their insulin production is not lowered, instead insulin sensitivity is reduced in cells. This can be managed with non-insulin treatment. So, you must know what non-insulin diabetes treatment is best for you.  

Learn the 5 most common non-insulin diabetes medications and their side effects in this article.  

Non-insulin diabetes treatment 

While some people need to get treated with insulin due to their low insulin sensitivity and type of diabetes, most people can manage their diabetes with oral medications, non-insulin medications, and lifestyle changes.  

Non-insulin medications come in both oral and injectable forms. Many varieties of oral medications for diabetes are introduced every year. Oral medications can be taken by mouth in the form of tablets or liquids.  

Whereas injectable medications are injected in the vein of the arm. However, in comparison, injectable non-insulin medications are less popular and used by certain people.  

5 non-insulin diabetes medications 

Here are the most common 5 non-insulin diabetes medications that doctors prescribe for treatment with their side effects.  

1. Exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon BCise): 

What is it: It is the first GLP-1 drug that comes in the injectable form approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the US. 

How does it work: This drug stimulates your pancreas to release insulin to move glucose out of your bloodstream into your cells to work as energy. It also reduces the use of glucagon your body produces and prompts your liver to release stored sugar too. It also improves digestion too.  

Who can take it: Usually, adults with type 2 diabetes whose treatment is not working for them can take this. If you think you may be pregnant, consult with your doctor because its effects haven’t been studied enough for a pregnant woman.  

Usage instructions:  Byetta is the first version, which you need to take twice a day, within an hour after your largest meals. Whereas Bydureon B Cise is a newer extended version that you need to take once a week. Keep in mind, that you can’t start taking both.  

Side effects: The most common side effects are – nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, and feeling jittery, dizziness, acid stomach, headache, constipation, and weakness. However, these symptoms usually appear in 1 or 2 weeks and disappear after the first month. In some cases, people experience severe side effects like inflammation of the pancreas or kidney failure.  

2. Dulaglutide (Trulicity): 

What is it: This is another GLP-1 injectable drug.  

How does it work: Similar to other GLP-1 drugs, it stimulates your pancreas to produce insulin to take glucose out of the bloodstream towards the cells. It also decreases the production of glucagon hormone, which stops the release of sugar from the liver. It also slows down digestion.  

Who can take it: Adults with type 2 diabetes whose condition does not improve with previous diabetes treatment. This medication doesn’t interfere with your treatment with metformin, pioglitazone, or a sulfonylurea drug. However, if you are planning to get pregnant, then you should consult with your doctor first because enough studies are not available on this drug’s effect on pregnant women.  

Usage instructions: You can take a shot of this medication once a week.  

Side effects: The most common side effects you can experience are vomiting, belly pain, diarrhea, and less appetite. Keep in mind, all these GLP-1 drugs come with a warning that during animal studies this drug is associated with thyroid cancer in some rats and mice. So, experts don’t know if it causes the same effect on people or not.  

3. Liraglutide (Victoza): 

What is it: It is another GLP-1 drug approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for diabetes treatment.  

How does it work: Liraglutide works in the same ways as other GLP-1 drugs work by telling your pancreas to produce insulin to move glucose out of your bloodstream into your cells. Limiting the glucagon hormone that your body produces prompts your liver to produce released sugar and also slows digestion.  

Who can take it: Adults with type 2 diabetes don’t get any results with previous treatment. This drug can be used in combination with metformin or a sulfonylurea drug. However, if you are planning a baby, then you should talk with your doctor due to the lack of studies on pregnant women.  

Usage instructions: You can take this drug any time of the day without worrying about your meals.  

Side effects: The most common side effects include headache, diarrhea, and headache. It can also lead to severe side effects like pancreatitis or kidney failure. Some animal studies also found that this drug is also linked with thyroid cancer, especially in some rats and mice. So, talk to your doctor about all your concerns before starting this medicine. 

4. Pramlintide (Symlin): 

What it is: It is an injectable synthetic version of amylin hormone, which is released with insulin when your blood sugar level is high.  

How does it work: This drug is usually taken with insulin to lower your blood sugar levels. It also helps you digest your food slowly to reduce the sugar formation in the bloodstream. Additionally, it controls your A1C levels and reduces your appetite, so that you can eat less.  

Who can take it: People with type 1 diabetes can take this drug with and without insulin shots. However, if you think you might be pregnant, then talk with your doctor about taking this drug. 

Usage instructions: You can take this drug with insulin before a meal.  

Side effects: The most common side effect is nausea; however, you can prevent nausea by starting this drug at a low dose and then increasing it slowly. Other side effects include less appetite, stomach pain, dizziness, tiredness, or indigestion. This drug can also lead to low blood sugar levels if you don’t adjust the insulin dose you’re taking.  

5. Tirzepatide (Mounjaro):  

What it is: This injectable drug is a first-in-class medicine that activates both the GLP-1 and GIP receptors, which improve your blood sugar control. 

How does it work: This drug activates both the GLP-1 and GIP receptors which increases insulin production but only when your blood sugar levels are on the rise. Additionally, it slows the stomach emptying speeds (into the intestine), which helps to manage your blood sugar levels after eating and makes you feel full for longer periods.  

Who can take it: Adults with type 2 diabetes can take this drug. However, it is not recommended for pregnant women or adolescents under 18 due to a lack of study about the effect on pregnant women or young people.  

Usage instructions: This drug is taken once a week.  

Side effects: The most common side effects are – stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and loss of appetite. 

Besides these 5 medications, here are some other non-insulin medications that are used in diabetes treatment:  

  • Semaglutide (Ozempic) 
  • Albiglutide (Tanzeum) 
  • Metformin 
  • Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT2 inhibitors) 
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (AGIs) 
  • Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) 

These are the most common non-insulin diabetes treatment medications that are used to treat diabetics. However, whether you take insulin or non-insulin medication for diabetes treatment, both of them can cause certain side effects. So, you need to discuss the side effects of the medication with your doctor before taking them.  

Do you need advice from a diabetologist for diabetes medication? If you need help with a diabetes diagnosis, visit our clinic at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11212. Our doctors can check your symptoms and tests will be done in our hospital. So that, it becomes easy for you that you don’t have to go to other labs for testing. After the condition is diagnosed in your test, our doctors will create a treatment plan to make you better or to help you manage your condition easily. Call us on +1-347-384-5690 to know more. 

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