Medication for Type 2 Diabetes

The cornerstone of Type 2 diabetes management is having a healthy balanced diet, taking regular physical activity, and aiming to have a weight that is appropriate for your height. When this alone is not enough to control blood glucose levels, your doctor may prescribe medication.


There are several different medications (tablets and injections) available for the management of Type 2 diabetes, they are categorised by how they work in the body. The one thing they have in common is that they all compensate in some way for the body’s inability to make and use enough insulin. Some medications stimulate the pancreas to make more insulin, some reduce the amount of glucose produced by the liver, some increase the sensitivity of the body tissues to insulin, some slow down absorption of glucose from the gut and some increase the excretion of glucose through the kidneys.


Your doctor or nurse prescriber will decide with you what medication is best for you based on your medical assessment and current blood glucose levels. If one medication does not work for you a second or third may be added. It is important to inform your doctor if you are not tolerating your medication as your medication can be changed to another that may suit you better.


Insulin injections may be prescribed for you if other treatment options are unsuitable or your current treatment isn’t enough to help you control your blood glucose levels. There are numerous insulins available and your doctor will prescribe the type that best suits your needs.



What you should know about your medication

  • The name of your medication
  • When is the best time to take it?
  • The dose (how much to take)
  • Potential side effects especially if that medication puts you at risk of a hypo (low blood glucose level)
  • If you are unsure of your medication talk to your pharmacist
  • Always read the patient information leaflet insert found in the box of medication before starting any new medication.


For a brief description of the different categories of medications currently available, click here.