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Diabetes drugs

Below please find an overview of the most commonly used drugs for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Click each drug to learn more information, including a list of the currently approved drugs in each class and the benefits and drawbacks of each type.

Metformin – Metformin decreases glucose production from the liver, thus lowering blood sugar. 

Insulin – The main job of insulin is to facilitate the uptake of glucose into the body’s cells. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. Most insulin is taken by injection or through a pump, though inhaled insulin is also available. 

SGLT-2 inhibitors – SGLT-2 inhibitor drugs block the process of reabsorbing glucose back into our blood, causing glucose to be excreted through urine.

GLP-1 agonists – GLP-1 is a hormone produced in the small intestine. It stimulates insulin secretion and inhibits glucagon secretion to lower blood sugar.

DPP-4 inhibitors – Inhibiting the enzyme DPP-4 increases the level of hormone GLP-1 to stimulate insulin production and decreases glucose levels. 

Combination drugs – Combination therapies put multiple drug classes into a single medication. Combinations can be injectable or taken as a pill.

Sulfonylureas – Sulfonylureas stimulate the beta cells in the pancreas to release insulin.

TZDs – TZDs bind to a particular protein in cells to activate genes and create new proteins that reduce insulin resistance and help glucose enter cells.

*Please note, this page is not a comprehensive list of all of the available diabetes drugs.