Alternate Medications Other Than Metformin for Type 2 Diabetes

As of 2006 diabetes was the seventh cause of death in the United States, according to the American Diabetes Society. By 2007 the medical costs of diagnosed diabetes exceeded $100 billion. Medication is a major factor in treating diabetes. Metformin is often the drug prescribed to newly diagnosed diabetics, notes However there are other medications that be used in addition to metformin.

Person holding up an insulin injection (Image: Images_By_Kenny/iStock/Getty Images)

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors are a form of oral diabetes medication that target the digestive system. These drugs decrease the absorption of blood sugar by the stomach and intestines, explains Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors may cause abdominal pain, loose bowel movement, or bloatedness.

Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 Inhibitors

Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, or DPP-4 inhibitors, are oral medicines that aid the body in producing insulin after meals. DPP-4 inhibitors accomplish this by preventing the destruction of a biochemical called GLP-1. This biochemical helps reduce blood sugar levels, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Incretin Mimetics

Exenatide is an incretin mimetic. Incretin mimetics are injectable diabetic medications that typically lower blood sugar by stimulating insulin release. Incretin mimetics can cause nausea and possibly hypoglycemia, explains the American Diabetes Association.


Insulin is a biochemical that is normally produced by the pancreas, and utilized to regulate blood sugar levels, according to the American Diabetes Association. However diabetes either prevents the body from producing insulin, or renders the body unable to utilize the insulin produced. As such, it is necessary for some diabetics to use artificial insulin. However because insulin breaks down upon contact with digestive juices insulin must injected directly into the bloodstream.


Meglitinides such as repaglinide and nateglinide are oral diabetes medicined that help stimulate insulin production in the pancreas, notes However meglitinides can cause hypoglycemia and should not be taken with alcohol, explains the American Diabetes Association.


Pramlintide is an artificial version of amylin. Amylin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, and also helps regulate blood sugar, explains the American Diabetes Association. This diabetes medication must be injected. Pramlintide can initially cause nausea, but this side effect tends to fade in time.


Sulfonylureas are oral medications commonly used in treating diabetes, notes However sulfonylureas may cause weight gain, as well as lower sodium levels in the body. Sulfonylureas are typically taken once or twice a day just prior to eating, according to the American Diabetes Association.


Rosiglitazone and pioglitazone belong to the thiazolidinediones class of oral diabetes medication, notes Thiazolidinediones typically target muscle and fat. Thiazolidinediones also reduce blood sugar production in the liver.

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