Diabetes Oral Medications/Anti-Diabetic Medications

Drugs used in diabetes treat diabetes mellitus by lowering glucose levels in the blood. With the exceptions of Insulin, exenatide, liraglutide and pramlintide, all are administered orally and are thus also called oral hypoglycemic agents or oral antihyperglycemic agents. There are different classes of anti-diabetic drugs, and their selection depends on the nature of the diabetes, age and situation of the person, as well as other factors.
Diabetes mellitus type 1 is a disease caused by the lack of insulin. Insulin must be used in Type I, which must be injected.
Diabetes mellitus type 2 is a disease of insulin resistance by cells. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is the most common type of diabetes. Treatments include (1) agents that increase the amount of insulin secreted by the pancreas, (2) agents that increase the sensitivity of target organs to insulin, and (3) agents that decrease the rate at which glucose is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.
Several groups of drugs, mostly given by mouth, are effective in Type II, often in combination. The therapeutic combination in Type II may include insulin, not necessarily because oral agents have failed completely, but in search of a desired combination of effects. The great advantage of injected insulin in Type II is that a well-educated patient can adjust the dose, or even take additional doses, when blood glucose levels measured by the patient, usually with a simple meter, as needed by the measured amount of sugar in the blood.

Insulin sensitizers address the core problem in Type II diabetes—insulin resistance.

Thiazolidinediones (TZDs), also known as "glitazones," bind to PPARγ, a type of nuclear regulatory protein involved in transcription of genes regulating glucose and fat metabolism.
Secretagogues are drugs that increase insulin output from the pancreas. Meglitinides help the pancreas produce insulin and are often called "short-acting secretagogues".
Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors are "diabetes pills" but not technically hypoglycemic agents because they do not have a direct effect on insulin secretion or sensitivity. Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors increase blood concentration of the incretin GLP-1 by inhibiting its degradation by dipeptidyl peptidase-4. Glycosurics are SGLT-2 inhibitors block the re-uptake of glucose in the renal tubules, promoting loss of glucose in the urine.

  • Meglitinides – nateglinide (Nonsulfonylurea secretagogues)
  • Biguanides – metformin (Insulin Sensitizers)
  • Sulfonylureas - glimepiride, glipizide, glyburide ( Secretagogues)
  • Thiazolidinediones (Tzd) – pioglitazone (Insulin Sensitizers)
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors – Acarbose (Diabetes Pills)
  • Injectable Incretin mimetics
  • Injectable Amylin analogues
  • Glycosurics (sodium/glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2)Inhibitors)

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