Oral medications

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:46 pm
Type 2 diabetes (die-uh-BEE-tees), in which your body can't use insulin properly, is sometimes treated with oral medication. However, medication won't work by itself: you'll also need to follow a diet and exercise plan. In fact, eating healthy, exercising, and losing weight may reduce or eliminate your need for medicine. There are five major groups of diabetes pills; each works in a different way to lower your blood sugar. The group of drugs called sulfonylureas (SUL-fah-nil-YOO-ree-ahs) both increase the production of insulin in the pancreas (PAN-cree-us), and help your body process insulin more efficiently. The pills known as biguanides (by-GWAN-ides) reduce the volume of sugar manufactured by the liver. Alpha-glucosidase (AL-fa gloo-KOS-ih-dayss) inhibitors delay your body's digestion of starch, so blood sugar levels don't rise too rapidly after eating. Meglitinides (meh-GLIT-in-ides) also work by spurring the production of insulin in the pancreas. Finally, there's thiazolidinediones (THIGH-ah-ZO-li-deen-DYE-owns). These drugs improve your body's ability to use the insulin it makes. If one medication isn't effective, a doctor may switch you to another, or have you take two different pills together. For more information about diabetes medication, consult a doctor in your area.

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