Most Common Diabetes Drugs

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For treating diabetes, you can get many types of diabetes drugs in the drug stores. Some drugs act in a similar ways. That’s why; these drugs are in the same class.

Diabetes drugs
Diabetes drugs are essential for type 1 diabetes.

Mostly used diabetes drugs

In the below we have described the most used diabetes drugs.


Insulin is one kind of hormone. It controls blood sugar level. For lack of insulin or insulin performance, a person faces diabetes or high blood sugar level. In type 1 diabetes insulin is given. In type 2 diabetes oral medication is given. Some work for a day and some work for a few hours.

Biguanides or Metformin

Biguanides increases the sensitivity of the body to insulin by banning liver from the production of glucose. Metformin is an important drug for treating type 1 diabetes. It is also given with insulin for managing type 1 diabetes.


Sulphonylureas are antibiotic for treating type 2 diabetes. It increases the amount and performance of insulin. Weight gain and hypoglycemia are two important side effects of it. Some drugs in sulphonylureas are as follows:

  • Glibenclamide
  • Glipizide (Glucotrol)
  • Gliquidone (Glurenorm)
  • Glyclopyramide (Deamelin-S)
  • Glimepiride (Amaryl)
  • Gliclazide (Diamicron) 


Meglitinides work as like as sulphonylureas but it works less time than sulphonylureas. Glinides are given for type 2 diabetes before half an hour of eating. The most common side effects are weight gain and hypoglycemia. Two most common drugs in this class are:

  • Repaglinide (Prandin)
  • Nateglinide (Starlix)

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors are for type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood sugar levels after eating by slowing down the carbohydrate’s digestion lying in small intestine. Two most common drugs of this group are:

  • Acarbose (marketed as Precose or Glucobay)
  • Miglitol (branded as Glyset)

Amylin analogues

Pancreas produces amylin, a hormone. It is also released at the same time of insulin release but quantity is very little (1% of insulin). It keeps the glucose level normal after eating by suppressing the release of glucagon. This drug is applied for treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The most common form of this drug in USA is Pramlintide acetate (marketed as Symlin). It may cause hypoglycemia as side effect.


Glitazones are given for treating type 2 diabetes. It develops the performance of insulin sensitivity. It also decreases the levels of triglyceride. It also helps to lower blood sugar level. But, this drug came into spotlight for the safety question.

Rosiglitazone (Avandia), a drug in this class, was banned by European agencies for the question of heart attack in 2010.

Pioglitazone (Actos) also came into question for bladder cancer. But, it does not come into question yet in UK.

DPP-4 inhibitors/Gliptins

Gliptins trigger to produce insulin and reduce glucagon’s production during digestion. It is prescribed for type 2 diabetes when sulphonylureas and metformin do not work well. Some drugs of this class are:

  • Sitagliptin (Januvia)
  • Vildagliptin (Galvus)
  • Saxagliptin (Onglyza)
  • Linagliptin (Tradjenta)-approved for use in the USA

Incretin mimetics/GLP-1 analogues

It is an injectable drug for type 2 diabetes. It reduces the release of glucagon and increases the production of insulin. It especially works for weight loss and developing blood glucose levels. Some drugs in the UK are:

  • Exenatide (Byetta)
  • Liraglutide (Victoza)

Diabetes drugs A-Z

For seeing all the diabetes drugs, you should read .

You can read also:


  • American Diabetes Association
  • Medicine Plus
  • medication‎
  • Joslin
  • Web MD
  • Health Central
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Drugs
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