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Diabetes Medicine

Ask most people about diabetes medicine and they will automatically think of insulin injections. While these are necessary for Type 1 diabetics and some people that suffer with severe Type 2 diabetes, there are a number of other diabetes treatment drugs and diabetes alternative medicines available that are less well known.

Diabetes treatment drugs

If you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, your doctor may initially recommend that you control your blood sugar with a mixture of diet, exercise and diabetes medicines that are designed to lower your blood sugar.  There are six major groups of diabetes medicine other than insulin, which are: 

  • Sulfonylureas - to stimulate your pancreas to increase insulin production.
  • Biguanides - decreases the amount of glucose made by your liver.
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors - slows starch absorption to control blood sugar levels.
  • Thiazolidinediones - to make you more sensitive to insulin.
  • Meglitinides - stimulates your pancreas to increase insulin production.
  • D-phenylalanine derivatives - helps to speed up insulin production in your pancreas.

Your doctor may recommend that you take a combination of two of the above diabetes medicines. This might mean taking two separate pills, or a combined dose containing two types of diabetes medicine.  Although your specific diabetes medicine may have a different brand name, it will contain one or more of the above drug groups.....read more about diabetes treatment drugs.

If you cannot control your blood sugar levels with these diabetes medicines, your doctor may prescribe insulin injections, either on their own or as well as diabetes treatment drugs.

Taking insulin as diabetes medication

Insulin is a protein and so cannot be taken in pill form as the digestive system would break it down making it ineffective.  Insulin shots are taken between two and four times a day, and the speed with which it works depends on the part of the body the insulin is injected into.  Injecting insulin into the stomach produces the fastest effects, whereas injecting into the thighs produces the slowest effects.

What diabetes alternative medicine is available?

Many people choose to try alternative medicine instead of diabetes treatment drugs, or complementary medicine along with their diabetes medication, to try to find a more natural way to alleviate symptoms of diabetes. Although research has shown some benefits of the following treatments, more tests are necessary to produce definitive results.

  • Vanadium has been shown to normalize blood sugar levels in animals. When used as a complementary diabetes medicine vanadium can enable type 2 diabetics to reduce their insulin intake. 
  • Ginseng is a diabetes herbal medicine that can lower blood sugar levels when used over a period of time.
  • Magnesium deficiency can increase diabetes complications and make blood sugar control more difficult in type 2 diabetics. A magnesium supplement can be used as a complementary diabetes medicine.
  • Chromium can be used as a diabetes medicine to increase the efficiency of insulin in the body.
  • Biofeedback for diabetes is a popular alternative medicine.  This uses relaxation and stress reduction techniques to teach the body to deal with chronic illnesses such as diabetes.  
  • Acupuncture is frequently used to provide relief from the pain of certain diabetes related complications such as neuropathy.

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