Non-insulin Injectable Diabetes Medications

Non-insulin Injectable Medications

As you’ve found out over the past few months, there countless types of diabetes tablets that can be effective in dealing with Type 2 diabetes. However, thanks to the changing nature of this condition, with time, diabetes pills might not suffice to keep blood glucose and HbA1c within a safe range. In the past, the next step would be to start on insulin. And while lots of people do, indeed, go on insulin (and there’s nothing wrong with that), today, there are other choices: these are the non-insulin injectable medications.

Non-insulin Injectable Diabetes Medications

Amylin analog

Amylin is a hormonal agent that is produced in addition to insulin in action to food intake. In individuals with Type 1 diabetes and individuals with Type 2 diabetes who require insulin, both insulin and amylin is lowered due to the beta cells in the pancreas not working as they should.

The first non-insulin injectable drug for diabetes was authorized by the FDA in 2005 — this drug was pramlintide (brand Symlin), an artificial type of amylin.

How it works: Pramlintide slows gastric emptying, blocks the release of glucagon (a hormone that raises blood glucose), decreases after-meal glucose release from the liver, and helps to minimize food intake, possibly leading to weight-loss. The result? Less of a rise in blood glucose after consuming a meal.

Who it’s for: Pramlintide is just used in individuals with diabetes who take insulin. People with Type 2 diabetes can take this medication if they also take mealtime, or fast-acting, insulin.

How it’s taken: This drug must be injected prior to each major meal. It can’t be combined with insulin, so it means taking more injections. Dosing is started low and gradually increased, as required. Mealtime insulin dosages usually need to be reduced to decrease the risk of low blood sugar level. Pramlintide is offered in a pen (just like an insulin pen).

Side effects: The main side effect of pramlintide is nausea, and this is why the dose is started low. Low blood glucose is another side effect, as it’s taken with insulin. Opposite effects might consist of loss of appetite, fatigue, headache, and weight reduction.

See also: A Complete List of Common Diabetes Medications

GLP-1 receptor agonists

The other class of non-insulin injectables that is more widely used than the amylin analog is known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. The action of these drugs is based upon incretins, which are gut hormones that work to increase insulin secretion in response to eating. Incretin hormonal agents operate in several ways: they increase satiety (feelings of fullness), sluggish stomach emptying, boost insulin release, and reduce glucagon release. Synthetic variations of these hormonal agents are now readily available: The first drug in this class to be approved, in 2005, is exenatide.

Offered GLP-1 receptor agonists are the following:

  • exenatide (Byetta and Bydureon)
  • liraglutide (Victoza)
  • albiglutide (Tanzeum)
  • dulaglutide (Trulicity)

How they work: These medications work to help the pancreas release insulin after you eat. They likewise restrict glucagon, and they slow down digestion, which assists to increase the feeling of fullness.

Who they’re for: GLP-1 receptor agonists are approved for people who have Type 2 diabetes and who may not be having success with diabetes tablets. People with Type 2 diabetes can be taking long-acting (basal) insulin, however they’re not authorized yet for those also taking mealtime insulin. And these drugs are not authorized for individuals who have Type 1 diabetes.

How they’re taken: GLP-1 agonists are taken by injection in the thigh, upper arm, or abdominal area two times a day, once a day, or once a week, depending upon the drug. Bydureon (which is an extended-release form of exenatide), Tanzeum, and Trulicity are taken when weekly.

Side effects: Nausea is the main side effect; others include vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, lightheadedness, and headache. Low blood sugar can take place if you take insulin or pills that raise the risk for lows. Pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas) is a less common, however possible side effect, also. Many people slim down when taking these drugs; in reality; liraglutide has recently been authorized (in a bigger dose) as a weight-loss agent called Saxenda.

Keep in mind: GLP-1 receptor agonists should not be used if you have a gastrointestinal disorder, such as gastroparesis. And if you have a personal or household history of thyroid cancer, you should not take these drugs.

Also read: Choose The Best Medications for Type 2 Diabetes

You might be wondering why anybody would take these drugs, given that they must be injected. These drugs do lower HbA1c levels, however only by 0.5% to 1.5%. They’re likewise only used as a second or 3rd representative, not by themselves. Among the main draws of these drugs is that they do cause weight-loss in about 80% of users, and they appear to curb hunger, making it a great choice for individuals who continuously feel hungry. Weight reduction eventually plateaus, nevertheless, so keep that in mind.

Are among these options for you? Talk with your doctor to discover. Likewise, check out your health-plan coverage, too, as these can be pricey medicines.

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