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Oral Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

People with type 2 diabetes have two problems that lead to high blood sugar. Their bodies don't make enough insulin to control their blood sugar. And their bodies don't respond well to insulin when it is present. Oral medicines for type 2 diabetes can raise your insulin. They also help your body use insulin better. You take these drugs by mouth. Sometimes they are combined with insulin.

Some examples of these medicines are:

Sulfonylureas. These help the body make more insulin. They include glipizide and glyburide.

Meglitinides. These also help your body make insulin. They include nateglinide and repaglinide.

Metformin. This lowers how much glucose your liver makes. And it helps you respond better to insulin.

Thiazolidinediones. These also reduce the amount of blood glucose. They also help you respond better to insulin. These medicines include pioglitazone and rosiglitazone.

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. These keep starches from breaking down. This means that they lower the amount of glucose absorbed when you eat. They include acarbose and miglitol.

DPP-4 inhibitors. These help the body make more insulin. They also help the body make less of a hormone that raises blood sugar. They include linagliptin, saxagliptin, and sitagliptin.

Sodium glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors. These help to remove extra glucose through your urine. They may also help some people lose weight. These medicines are also called SGLT2 inhibitors. They include canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, and empagliflozin.
You may take one or more of these drugs. You and your doctor can choose the best ones for you. If pills can't control your blood sugar, you may need to use medicine that you take as a shot. These include amylinomimetics, incretin mimetics, and insulin.

You may need to use insulin for a short time if you get sick or need surgery. Drugs that you take by mouth may not control blood sugar when your body is stressed.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Eat a healthy diet. Get some exercise each day. This may help you to reduce how much medicine you need.
Do not take other prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbal products, or supplements without talking to your doctor first. Some medicines for type 2 diabetes can cause problems with other medicines or supplements.
Tell your doctor if you plan to get pregnant. Some of these drugs are not safe for pregnant women.
Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Sulfonylureas or meglitinides can cause your blood sugar to drop very low. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
Check your blood sugar levels often. You can use a glucose monitor. Keeping track of blood glucose levels can help you know how certain foods, activities, and medicines affect your blood sugar. And it can help you keep your blood sugar from getting so low that it's not safe.
When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
You passed out (lost consciousness), or you suddenly become very sleepy or confused. (You may have very low blood sugar.)

You have symptoms of high blood sugar, such as:
Blurred vision.
Trouble staying awake or being woken up.
Fast, deep breathing.
Breath that smells fruity.
Belly pain, not feeling hungry, and vomiting.
Feeling confused.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
You are sick and cannot control your blood sugar.
You have been vomiting or have had diarrhea for more than 6 hours.
Your blood sugar stays higher than the level your doctor has set for you.

You have symptoms of low blood sugar, such as:
Feeling nervous, shaky, and weak.
Extreme hunger and slight nausea.
Dizziness and headache.
Blurred vision.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
You have a hard time knowing when your blood sugar is low.
You have trouble keeping your blood sugar in the target range.
You often have problems controlling your blood sugar.

You have symptoms of long-term diabetes problems, such as:
New vision changes.
New pain, numbness, or tingling in your hands or feet.
Skin problems.

Care instructions adapted under license by Alliance In Health Diabetes Control Center. This care instruction is for use with your licensed healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.

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