The type 2 diabetes epidemic has reached an estimated 125 million people worldwide. This number is expected to increase to 220 million by the year 2010. The main reasons for this steep increase include reduced physical exercise, dietary changes and a higher incidence of obesity.
The world’s pharmaceutical businesses compete fiercely for a part of the U.S. type 2 market of 14 million people. With this increasing prevalence, more and more type 2 medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or are currently being designed to treat type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 medications run the gamut. Some drugs treat insulin resistance, in which the pancreas produces an adequate amount of insulin, but they can’t properly use it. Other drugs slow carbohydrate digestion there by lowering drug sugars.
Types of Type 2 Drugs
Glyburide, Glucotrol XL, DiaBeta and others (see chart on pg. 50) are drugs that make the pancreas work harder to produce more insulin.
Avandia and ACTOS (see chart) are generally prescribed for people with insulin resistance.
Glucophage (see chart) slows the liver’s production of sugar during the night and tends to make the muscles a little more sensitive to the glucose uptake.
Precose and Glyset work in the intestines on carbohydrate digestion so that after-meal blood sugars do not shoot up drastically.
Know Your Body
Since no two type 2s are alike, there is a different prescription for different type 2s.
Knowing your own body and the drug’s specific function can help you understand your doctor’s prescription, and lead to better treatment of your diabetes.