The Best Medications for Type 2 Diabetes
In a perfect world, we could always control type 2 Diabetes with natural therapies – diet, exercise, and natural ingredients such as Berberine, Chromium, and Alpha-Lipoic Acid. However, prescriptions are sometimes necessary. For most people (there are always exceptions), these are my top 2 medication classes to consider: SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP1 receptor agonists.
How do they work and what are the side effects?
SGLT2i (drug names: Invokana®, Farxiga®, Jardiance®, Steglatro®):These are the pills that make you “pee out extra sugar.” They are taken once daily (usually in the morning) and tell your kidneys not to take back in extra sugar but rather to urinate it out. This is nice because it can’t cause low blood sugars and the extra sugars (i.e. extra calories) get urinated out meaning you generally lose weight. Thus, common side effects are urinating frequently and, if you are female, yeast infections. However, the risk of these side effects goes down after being on the medication for a bit. Yeast infections can be treated with over-the-counter creams.
GLP1ra - i.e. non-insulin injections. Once daily (Victoza®) or once weekly injections (Trulicity®, Ozempic®, Bydueron®).These slow how food moves through the stomach to give a fullness feeling, help the body make more insulin, and lower the anti-insulin hormone glucagon. Common side effects are nausea and upset stomach – usually from food moving slower in the stomach, so it helps to eat smaller portions and minimize greasy fatty foods. This also does get better with time.
Here’s why I consider them the “best”:
They can help minimize the need for insulin and other medications. I have countless cases of patients able to stop insulin entirely and reduce other pills because of these therapies. These medicines help treat the cause of diabetes- not just the high blood sugars themselves. They help eliminate extra sugar (by “peeing it out”) and decrease insulin resistance.
Benefits beyond blood sugar lowering
These 2 classes of medications have shown heart and kidney benefits in recent clinical trials. Patients taking SGLT2i pills experience lower heart failure risk and protection of kidneys! Patients taking GLP1 injections experience lower risk of cardiac events, heart attacks, and strokes!
Both classes also help with weight loss through different ways, meaning they can be used together to optimize weight loss.
Ask the Experts
Don’t just take my word for it… the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) who write the National Diabetes Guidelines on what doctors should be prescribing as “standard of care” recommend these as preferred therapies over insulin and oral pills like glipizide and Januvia.
How do I talk to my doctor about trying these?
Everyone responds differently to medications so it’s always important to discuss YOUR unique case with your doctor. However, if you do need medications – I STRONGLY encourage you to review these specific options. Additionally, I usually always recommend natural supplements such as Daily Support and Sugar-Blocker than can provide synergistic support to medications by balancing side effects and helping to optimize the body’s natural insulin.
If your doctor is NOT willing to discuss these options with you, it is important to understand if their concerns are valid (as they may not be appropriate or safe for you!) or if they are just not experienced with these therapies…. in which case you might consider seeing a diabetes specialist/endocrinologist.
Having trouble with affordability of these medications? Check out some of my tips on saving money here.
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- Stephanie Redmond