University of Illinois Extension

What are Oral Glucose Lowering Medications?

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oral glucose lowering medications

A person with type 2 diabetes will often require one or more medications to keep blood glucose levels under control.  These medications are in tablet form and are taken by mouth on a daily basis.  There are eight different classes of these medications, and they each work a little bit differently. 

  • Sulfonylureas: Increase the amount of insulin made by the pancreas
  • Meglitinide: Increase the amount of insulin the pancreas releases
  • Biguanide: Decrease the amount of glucose made by the liver
  • Thiazolidinedione: Increases the sensitivity of the body to insulin
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitor: Slows down the rate of glucose absorption by the small intestine
  • Dipeptidyl-peptidase 4 inhibitors: Makes the naturally occurring incretins work longer and better. See the section on Incretins and Amylin
  • Sodium-glucose transporter 2 (SGLT2): Causes excess glucose to be excreted in the kidneys
  • Bile acid sequestrant: Can lower both cholesterol snd glucose in the blood

Your doctor may also prescribe a combination medication, which contains two of these medications in one pill. 

Back to: Diabetes Medications

This document is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.