Cardiovascular disease

Type 2 diabetes

(Type II diabetes)

  • Also known as
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2

About Type 2 diabetes

Diabetes means your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. With type 2 diabetes, the more common type, your body does not make or use insulin well. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose get into your cells to give them energy. Without insulin, too much glucose stays in your blood. Over time, high blood glucose can lead to serious problems with your heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and gums and teeth.

You have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes if you are older, obese, have a family history of diabetes, or do not exercise. Having prediabetes also increases your risk. Prediabetes means that your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes appear slowly. Some people do not notice symptoms at all. The symptoms can include

  • Being very thirsty
  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very hungry or tired
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Having sores that heal slowly
  • Having blurry eyesight

A blood test can show if you have diabetes. Many people can manage their diabetes through healthy eating, physical activity, and blood glucose testing. Some people also need to take diabetes medicines.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Top Medications for Type 2 diabetes according to our users

Button Group. All currently active

All Medications for Type 2 diabetes

  • Anti-diabetic > Thiazoladinedione

  • Anti-diabetic > Sulfonylurea

    • Amaryl
      (Glimepiride)
      Prescription only

      Amaryl (Glimepiride) is an effective blood sugar lowering medicine, but you have to avoid direct sunlight and alcohol.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
    • Glucotrol
      (Glipizide)
      Prescription only

      Glucotrol (Glipizide) is a very effective oral blood sugar-lowering medicine. It can cause low blood sugar, so make sure you know what the symptoms are and always have a source of sugar nearby.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release
    • Glucovance
      (Metformin / Glyburide)
      Prescription only

      Glucovance (Metformin / Glyburide) is a very effective combo medication to lower blood sugar when taking one medication alone isn't enough. It's likely to cause diarrhea for the first few weeks, and you can’t drink much alcohol.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
    • Glyburide
      Prescription only

      Glyburide is a very effective oral blood sugar-lowering medicine, but has more side effects and restrictions compared to other medicines in this class (sulfonylureas).

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
  • Anti-diabetic > Incretin mimetic

    • Byetta
      (Exenatide)
      Prescription only

      Byetta (Exenatide) helps lower blood sugar for people with diabetes and causes weight loss, but it has to be given by injection and many people have upset stomach.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Injection
    • Victoza
      (Liraglutide)
      Prescription only

      Victoza (Liraglutide) helps lower blood sugar for people with diabetes and causes weight loss, but it has to be given by injection and many people have upset stomach.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Injection
  • Anti-diabetic > Biguanide

    • Glucovance
      (Metformin / Glyburide)
      Prescription only

      Glucovance (Metformin / Glyburide) is a very effective combo medication to lower blood sugar when taking one medication alone isn't enough. It's likely to cause diarrhea for the first few weeks, and you can’t drink much alcohol.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
    • Janumet
      (Sitagliptin / Metformin)
      Prescription only

      Janumet is an expensive but very effective combination of oral blood sugar-lowering medicines.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release
    • Metformin
      Prescription only

      Glucophage (Metformin) is a very effective medicine to lower blood sugar and the risk of complications and death from diabetes, but it's likely to cause diarrhea for the first few weeks.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release
      • Liquid
  • Anti-diabetic > Insulin

  • Anti-diabetic > SGLT2 inhibitor

    • Invokana
      (Canagliflozin)
      Prescription only

      Invokana (Canagliflozin) helps lower blood sugar for people with diabetes but it can increase the chance of a yeast infection and can be expensive.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
  • Anti-diabetic > DPP-4 inhibitor

  • Cholesterol-lowering > Statin

    • Atorvastatin
      Prescription only

      Lipitor (Atorvastatin) is a good medication to improve your cholesterol. Statin side effects can be difficult to deal with, but the benefits might outweigh the risks.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill

Medication side effects for Type 2 diabetes

These are some of the most common side effects from clinical trials for abdominal pain.

  • Invokana: 2%
  • Januvia: 13%
  • Janumet: 20%
0 of 100

At this end, no one is expected to have abdominal pain

100 of 100

At this end, almost everyone is expected to have abdominal pain

Tips, success stories, and coping strategies for Type 2 diabetes

What tip would you give someone like me who was just diagnosed?
  • Get your sugar under control fast before you go on Medicare as the drug programs do not pay very much toward the medicines available to treat you!
What’s your best coping strategy?

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Besides medications, what else has worked for you?

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