Print
Request Appointment

Oral Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes pills can help to manage your blood sugar. These pills are not insulin. They work to manage your blood sugar in several ways. You may be given a combination of medications. Always follow your doctor’s instructions.

Some pills may increase your risk for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Watch for symptoms of low blood sugar. Call your doctor if low blood sugar occurs often.

Types of Diabetes Pills

Sulfonylureas

These pills help the body make more insulin. They are usually taken 30 minutes before a meal. Possible side effects include:

  • Hypoglycemia

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Drowsiness

Alpha-glucosidase Inhibitors

These pills slow the digestion of sugars and starches. They can help keep your blood sugar from going too high after a meal. Take them with the first bite of each main meal. Possible side effects include:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Diarrhea

  • Excess gas (flatulence)

Thiazolidinediones

These pills help your muscle cells use insulin better. Your doctor may order lab tests to check the function of your liver before prescribing these pills and regularly while you are taking them. Possible side effects include:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections

  • Headaches

  • Weight gain

  • Swelling

Biguanides

These pills help control the amount of glucose in your blood. They do this by decreasing the amount of glucose made by your liver and helping your muscles use insulin more effectively. These medications are usually taken with each meal. Possible side effects include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Abdominal bloating

  • Excess gas (flatulence)

  • Metallic taste in mouth

Meglitinides

These pills increase your insulin for a short period of time. They are usually taken before a meal. Possible side effects include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Headache

  • Low blood sugar

  • Slightly increased risk for heart problems

DPP-4 Inhibitors

These pills help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. They are less likely to cause hypoglycemia. They are taken once a day. Possible side effects include:

  • Upper respiratory tract infection

  • Stuffy or runny nose

  • Sore throat

  • Headache

Combination Pills

These medications may help keep your blood glucose within your target range. They also help your pancreas make more insulin and may help your muscles use insulin more effectively. Side effects depend on which type of combination you use. Your healthcare provider can tell you more.

Watch for Symptoms of Hypoglycemia

  • Headaches

  • Shakiness or dizziness

  • Hunger

  • Cold, clammy skin; sweating

  • A hard, fast heartbeat

  • Confusion or irritability

 

 

Was this helpful?

Yes No
 

Tell us more.

Check all that apply.
 
 
 
 
 
NEXT ▶

Last question: How confident are you filling out medical forms by yourself?

Not at all A little Somewhat Quite a bit Extremely

Thank You!

 
 Visit Other Fairview Sites 
 
 
(c) 2012 Fairview Health Services. All rights reserved.