[Skip to Content]
University of Illinois Extension

Diabetes Medications


What are the Types of Insulin?

Insulin is classified based on how quickly it takes effect.  There are four categories:

types of insulin

Insulin can be packaged in vials, pens/cartridges, or inhaled. There are also pre-mixed insulins that contain a combination of insulin types described above.

Characteristics to consider with your insulin include


What are Incretins and Amylins?

female pharmacist

Incretins and Amylins are both naturally produced hormones that have different actions to control blood glucose.  Inretins are secreted from the gut to stimulate insulin secretion in response to eating food. The medication works in the same way. Amylins are secreted by the pancreas. They slow emptying of the stomach contents into the gastrointestinal tract, lower hunger sensations, and effect of hormones involved in blood glucose regulation.


What are Oral Glucose Lowering Medications?

oral glucose lowering medications

A person with type 2 diabetes will often require one or more medications to keep blood glucose levels under control.  These medications are in tablet form and are taken by mouth on a daily basis.  There are eight different classes of these medications, and they each work a little bit differently. 

Your doctor may also prescribe a combination medication, which contains two of these medications in one pill. 


How do my Medications Affect my Diet?

Medications for diabetes are designed to lower blood glucose. It is important that you follow your meal plan as designed by your dietitian or doctor. Your diet needs to be matched to your medications, and your medications need to be matched to your diet. Taking oral medications for diabetes doesn’t just “cover” whatever you feel like eating. Eating consistently so that there is a good match may be hard. Eating a lot one day and not much the next day usually means that on neither day was your medication and food matched.

Hypoglycemia can occur if meals are skipped while taking one of these medications. Check with your health care professional if this is a concern for you.

follow your meal plan as designed by your dietitian or doctor


This site was last updated June, 2014.
This is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.