Understanding Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes occurs when your body no longer makes or uses insulin as it’s intended to. Insulin is a naturally occurring substance in the body, but some people don’t make enough of it or their cells become insulin resistant. Diabetic patients must manage higher than normal blood sugar (or glucose) levels in the body.

Diabetes is classified into two types (Type 1 and Type 2). Diabetics of both types require medicines to normalize blood glucose levels. If the doctor says you’re diabetic, he or she will prescribe drugs for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

It’s good to know about the universe of treatment options diabetics have today.

Here’s a comprehensive list of available diabetes medications along with links to Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes medication prices that will help you save up to 90% off U.S. retail prices.

You may also find our Cheat Sheet helpful: 12 Ways to Save Money on Your Diabetes Medications [Cheat Sheet]

Type 1 Diabetes Medications

Short-Action InsulinLevemir FlexPen Diabetes Medication

  • Brand names: Novolin and Humulin (regular insulin) are two commonly prescribed, short-acting drugs your doctor may prescribe.

Rapid-Action Insulin

Intermediate-Action Insulin

  • Brand name: Novolin N and Humulin N Pen (insulin isophane) are two intermediate-action insulins your doctor may prescribe.

Long-Action Insulin

  • Brand name Tresiba (insulin degludec)
  • Brand name Levemir Flexpen (insulin detemir)
  • Brand name Lantus Vials (insulin glargine)
  • Brand name Toujeo (insulin glargine)Humulin N Pen 70/30

Combination Medications Insulin

  • Brand name: Ryzodeg
  • Brand name: NovoLog Mix 70/30
  • Brand name: Humulin N Pen 70/30
  • Brand name: Novolin 70/30
  • Brand name: Humalog Mix 75/25
  • Brand name: Humalog Mix 50-50

Amylinomimetic Drug

Brand names SymlinPen 120 and SymlinPen 60 (pramlintide) are amylinomimetic drug therapies. The medicine is injected before a meal. It delays emptying of the stomach and reduces glucagon production after your meal.

This action reduces plasma sugar levels and reduces hunger.

Type 2 Diabetes Medications

Type 2 diabetics differ from Type 1 diabetes. The body still makes insulin but doesn’t use it well. Type 2 diabetics need medications that help them better use available insulin in the body. These medicines can also help diabetics to excrete excess glucose in the blood.

Most medicines for Type 2 diabetics are taken by mouth. However, some medicines are available in injectable form. Take these medicines before a meal. Medications for Type 2 diabetes include:

Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitor Drugs

These medicines help the body to break down simple sugars, e.g. table sugar, and starches, e.g. potatoes. Before a meal, take these medicines:

Biguanide Drugs

Biguanide drugs lower the amount of glucose created by the liver. These drugs also limit intestinal absorption of sugars. These actions help to improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin and diminish insulin resistance. The medications can also help the muscles absorb available glucose to insulin and decreases insulin resistance. The medications can also help the muscles absorb available glucose.

The most commonly prescribed biguanide (brand names Glucophage, Fortamet, Metformin, Riomet, Hydrochloride ER, and Glumetza) is sometimes used along with other medicines for Type 2 diabetics, such as:

Dopamine Agonist Drugs

Bromocriptine medicines, such as brand name Parlodel, are dopamine agonists. Although scientists don’t understand the specific mechanisms of these drugs in diabetes Type 2 treatment, they know the medicines affect body rhythms and prevent or improve insulin resistance.

DPP-4 Inhibitor Drugs

DPP-4 inhibitor medications promote the body’s ability to prodce its own insulin. They reduce blood glucose levels without triggering a hypoglycemic event. This drug class includes:

Incretin Mimetic Drugs

Incretin memetic drugs work similarly to the body’s natural hormone, incretin. These drugs promote the growth of B-cells in the pancreas and the amount of insulin used by the body. They also regulate the appetite and the amount of glucagon used by the body.

Importantly, incretin mimetics slow down the emptying of the stomach. These medicines for Type 2 diabetics include:

SGLT 2 Inhibitor Medications

SGLT 2 Inhibitor MedicationsSodium glucose-transporter 2 inhibitor drugs prevent kidneys from absorbing or holding glucose. These drugs help the body to excrete glucose in the urine. SGLT 2 inhibitors include:

  • Brand name: Jardiance (empagliflozin)
  • Brand name: Xigduo XR (dapagliflozin/metformin)
  • Brand name: Invokamet (canagliflozin)
  • Brand name: Farxiga (dapagliflozin)
  • Brand name: Invokana (canagliflozin)
  • Brand name: Synjardy (empagliflozin/metformin)
  • Brand name: Glyxambi (empagliflozin/linagliptin)

Sulfonylurea Medications

Sulfonylurea medicines have been used to treat diabetes for many years. These drugs stimulate pancreatic function and beta cells. The process promotes more insulin production in the body. Sulfonylureas drugs include:Amaryl - Sulfonylurea Medications

Thiazolidinedione Medications

Thiazolidinedione medications work by reducing the amount of sugar in the liver. These medicines also promote fat cells’ improved use of insulin. Doctors know that thiazolidinedione drugs can increase cardiac risks. If a doctor prescribes a thiazolidinedione drug to treat diabetes, you’ll receive regular heart function monitoring as part of the treatment.

Thiazolidinedione drugs include:

Other Diabetes Drugs

If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, the doctor may also prescribe other medicines and treatments for your condition, including:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) medicines
  • Anticholesterolemic (LDL cholesterol-lowering) drugs
  • Aspirin (circulatory system health)

Ask Your Doctor about Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2 Medicines

As you can see, many drugs are used to treat diabetes. Each drug type works differently to regulate blood glucose levels. If you have questions about the best diabetes medicine for you, ask your doctor.

Let your doctor know about your symptoms on any diabetes medicine. It may be necessary to change your dose or try a new medication.

It’s important to let your doctor know all the medicines you’re taking, too. Drug interactions can prevent your diabetes drug from working as effectively as it can or, in some cases, cause harm.