Can Diabetes Pills Help Me?

Only people with type 2 diabetes can use pills to manage their diabetes, people with type 1 diabetes must use insulin.

These pills work best when used with meal planning and exercise. This way you have three therapies working together to lower your blood glucose levels.

Diabetes pills don't work for everyone. Although most people find that their blood glucose levels go down when they begin taking pills, their blood glucose levels may not go near the normal range.

Will They Help?

What are the chances that diabetes pills will work for you? Your chances are low if you have had diabetes for more than 10 years or already take more than 20 units of insulin each day. On the other hand, your chances are good if you developed diabetes recently or have needed little or no insulin to keep your blood glucose levels near normal.

Diabetes pills sometimes stop working after a few months or years. The cause is often unknown. This doesn't mean your diabetes is worse. When this happens, oral combination therapy can help.

Even if diabetes pills do bring your blood glucose levels near the normal range, you may still need to take insulin if you have a severe infection or need surgery. Pills may not be able to control blood glucose levels during these stressful times when blood glucose levels shoot up.

Also, if you plan to become pregnant, you will need to control your diabetes with diet and exercise or with insulin. It is not safe for pregnant women to take oral diabetes medications.

There is no "best" pill or treatment for type 2 diabetes. You may need to try more than one type of pill, combination of pills, or pills plus insulin.

My Medicine Tracker

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  • Last Reviewed: June 7, 2013
  • Last Edited: November 19, 2013

Articles from Diabetes Forecast® magazine:

Diabetes Forecast