Type 2 Diabetes Medication Reference Charts

Researched and Prepared By: Basia Cybart

Recently, not only have new medications to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus been introduced into the market, but these medications work in entirely different ways than conventional medications and are organized in different classifications.

Although these new medications have been introduced the-tried-and-true standard treatments are still available and when combined with the latest medications, blood glucose levels can be maintained even closer to the norm.

All Type 2 Diabetes Medications






Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors Glyset and Precose Oral Slows digestion, slows glucose production Take before each meal
Anti-Hyperglycemic Symlin Injectable Controls postprandial 15 mcg. inject before major meals
Biguanides Glucophage (aka Metformin) Glucophage XR Oral Lowers glucose from digestion 2-3 times a day, XR once a day
DPP-4 Inhibitors Januvia Oral Lowers glucose by blocking an enzyme 100 mg. once a day
Incretin Mimetics Byetta Injectable Helps the pancreas make insulin, slows digestion 10 mcg. Inject within an hour of AM and PM meals
Meglitinides Prandin and Starlix Oral Increases insulin production 5-30 minutes before meals
Sulfonylureas Glimepiride (Amaryl) Glipizide (Glucotrol) Glipizide ER (Glucotrol XL) Glyburide Oral Increases insulin production 1 or 2 times a day
Thiazolidinediones Actos and Avandia Oral Lowers glucose production Once daily with or without food

New Type 2 Diabetes Classifications and Medicines




DPP-4 Inhibitors These drugs block an enzyme (DPP-4) that normally deactivates a protein (GLP-1) that keeps insulin circulating in the blood. Slowing the deactivation process helps reduce sugar production, lowering blood glucose levels. Januvia(sitagliptin phosphate)The first of the DPP-4 inhibitors to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Januvia is an oral medication which is taken once a day, either alone with diet and exercise, or in combination with other oral diabetes medications.
Incretin Mimetics These mimic the action of incretin hormones which help the body make more insulin. They also slow the rate of digestion so that glucose enters the blood more slowly. People on incretin mimetics feel full longer, which reduces food intake, which helps some people lose weight while on the medication. Byetta(exenatide)Byetta is an injectable medication that is used in combination with other oral diabetes medications. It is not an insulin and it does not take the place of insulin. It is used for type 2 diabetes only and cannot be given with insulin. Byetta comes in a pre-filled injector pen. The dose is 5 mcg. to start, twice a day within 60 minutes prior to your morning and evening meals. Your doctor may increase the dose to 10 mcg. based on your results.
Antihyperglycemic Synthetic Analogs These are medications that are created as synthetic versions of human substance, in this case a human hormone called amylin, which is used by the pancreas to lower blood glucose levels. Symlin (pramlintide acetate)Symlin is an injectable medication which is used with insulin for tighter blood glucose control. Symlin can increase the risk of severe hypoglycaemia, therefore patients who are put on Symlin are selected carefully and monitored closely by their healthcare providers.

Older Type 2 Diabetes Classifications and Medicines




Sulfonylureas These medications are the oldest of the oral diabetes drugs, and until 1995 they were the only drugs available for managing type 2 diabetes. Sulfonylureas stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin into the blood stream. Hypoglycemia can be a side effect of these drugs. Sulfonylureas can also sometimes stop working after a few years. There are several “generations” of this classification of medicines. Second and third generations are more widely prescribed today.

  • First generation:

Orinase, Tolinase and Diabinese.

  • Second generation:

Glucotrol (glipizide), Glucotrol XL (extended-release glipizide), Micronase or Diabeta (glyburide).

  • Third generation:

Amaryl (glimepiride)

Biguanides These lower the production of glucose that is made in the liver. It also makes the body more sensitive to insulin. Cholesterol levels may be lowered as well. Glucophage, Glucophage XR (metformin)There is very little risk of hypoglycaemia when metformin is used alone. Lactic acidosis can be a rare but serious side effect.
Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors These delay the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose during digestion. This prevents blood glucose levels from peaking too high. Precose (acarbose)Glyset (miglitol) 
Thiazolidinediones Sensitizes muscle and fat cells to accept insulin more easily. Avandia (rosiglitazone)Actos (pioglitazone)
Meglitinides These stimulate insulin production when there is glucose present in the blood. If blood sugar is low, the drug does not work as well. Prandin (repaglinide)Starlix (nateglitinide)

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.