“With some medications, you can see a change immediately.”
It’s possible to manage type 2 diabetes solely with dietary tweaks and increased physical activity, but many people with diabetes will also need medications to help manage their disease. There are numerous medications available to treat type 2 diabetes, so if one doesn’t work for you, another probably will.
But how can you tell if it’s working for you?
“With some medications, you can see a change immediately from a few days to a few weeks,” says Ana Kausel, MD, endocrinologist in New York City. However, just because a medication doesn’t bring immediate results doesn’t mean it’s not a good fit. “In order to see improvement in your overall diabetes management, patients should stay on their medication for at least a few months to a few years.”
The most accurate way to see if your medications are working is by regularly checking your blood sugar levels at home, according to Dr. Kausel. Your numbers should be steady—not too high and not too low. Learn more about monitoring blood sugar here.
If your medications seem to be having a negative effect on your diabetes management—or the side effects are not tolerable—do not stop taking your medications or adjust your dose. This can be dangerous, and medication changes should always be done under the guidance of a medical professional.
“If you think your medications are not working and not improving your sugar levels, you should go back to your medical care team and discuss with them what other options might be better for you,” says Dr. Kausel. Your doctor can help you find a better regimen for your needs, whether that means adjusting your dose, making lifestyle changes, or trying a new medication altogether.
“Nowadays, there's so much technology [and] so many new great medications for diabetes management, that we can tailor based on your very specific needs,” says Dr. Kausel.
Dr. Kausel is an endocrinologist specializing in diabetes, obesity, and metabolic disorders in New York City.
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Diabetes type 2 can be treated with either insulin
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or other non-insulin medications.
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With some medications, you can see a change immediately
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from a few days to a few weeks, but in order to see
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improvement in your overall diabetes management,
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patients should stay on their medication
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for at least a few months to a few years.
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The best way to know whether your medications are working
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are by checking your blood sugar at home
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and make sure your sugars are improving and not going too low.
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If you think your medications are not working
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and not improving your sugar levels,
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you should go back to your medical care team and discuss
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with them what other options might be better for you.
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It is very important to discuss with your doctor
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the possible side effects of the medication
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since some of these medications have very specific side effects
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that can be a contraindication for certain patients
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and can make the diabetes management more difficult.
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Nowadays, there's so much technology,
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so many new great medications for the diabetes management,
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that we can tailor based on your very specific needs.
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We're there for you and help you achieve a better quality of life
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and a better diabetes management.
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Insulin, medicines, & other diabetes treatments. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2016. (Accessed on February 7, 2020 at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/insulin-medicines-treatments.)
Medication management. Arlington, VA: American Diabetes Association. (Accessed on February 7, 2020 at https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/medication-management.)
What are my options? Arlington, VA: American Diabetes Association. (Accessed on February 7, 2020 at https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/medication-management/oral-medication/what-are-my-options.)