Type 2 Diabetes Non-Insulin Injectable Medications

Written by Julia Telfer, MPH
Reviewed by Daphne E. Smith-Marsh, PharmD, CDE

If the oral diabetes medication you're taking isn't getting your HbA1c into a healthy range, your doctor may suggest a combination therapy that also includes injectable insulin or an injectable medication. Which medications you wind up using depends on your preference and medical history.

The goal for medication therapy of type 2 diabetes is generally an HbA1c of less than 7%.1 However, your health care provider will determine your HbA1c goal based on individual factors.

Here is an overview of the two classes of injectable medications currently available:

GLP-1 Receptor Agonists

How they work: Increase insulin production, decrease sugar made in the liver, decrease food intake. 

Names: exenatide (Byetta); liraglutide (Victoza); dulaglutide (Trulicity); albiglutide (Tanzeum).

Benefits: Helps with weight loss. Decreases some cardiovascular risk factors. Helps slow the rise in blood glucose levels after a meal. Infrequent dosing.

Possible side effects: gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea); increased heart rate.

Notes: once-a-week dosing now available. Contraindicated in people with ketoacidosis or severe kidney problems.

Amlyin Mimetics

How they work: reduce glucagon levels which helps to reduce blood glucose levels.

Name: pramlintide (Symlin)

Benefits: helps with weight loss, helps slow the rise in blood glucose levels after a meal.

Possible side effects: modest efficacy; gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomting); hypoglycemia.

Notes: injected before you eat. Frequent dosing schedule and training requirements considered a drawback.

 

 

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Type 2 Diabetes Oral Medications