Journal of Diabetology

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Rapid Communication - Journal of Diabetology (2023) Volume 7, Issue 4

A Breakdown of Common Anti-Diabetic Medications: How They Work and When to Use Them

Ghina Ghazeeri *

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon

Corresponding Author:
Ghina Ghazeeri
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon.

Received: 26-Jun-2023, Manuscript No. AADY-23-105701; Editor assigned: 28-Jun-2023, PreQC No. AADY-23-105701 (PQ); Reviewed: 12-Jul-2023, QC No. AADY-23-105701; Revised: 14-Jul-2023, Manuscript No: AADY-23-105701 (R); Published: 17-Jul-2023, DOI:10.35841/aady-7.4.155

Citation: Ghazeeri G. A breakdown of common anti-diabetic medications: How they work and when to use them. J Diabetol. 2023; 7(4):155

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Diabetes, a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by elevated blood sugar levels, affects millions of people worldwide. To effectively manage this condition, healthcare providers often prescribe anti-diabetic medications. These medications play a crucial role in controlling blood glucose levels and preventing diabetes-related complications [1].

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive breakdown of common anti-diabetic medications, exploring how they work and when they are typically used.



Metformin, often the first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes, belongs to a class of drugs called biguanides. It primarily works by decreasing the liver's production of glucose and increasing the sensitivity of muscle cells to insulin. Metformin is usually prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes who need to improve their insulin sensitivity and reduce their fasting blood sugar levels. It can be used alone or in combination with other medication.


Sulfonylureas are a class of drugs that stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin. They work by targeting the beta cells in the pancreas, which produce insulin. Common sulfonylureas include glyburide, glipizide, and glimepiride. These medications are typically used when diet and exercise alone are insufficient in managing blood sugar levels.

DPP-4 Inhibitors

Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors are a relatively newer class of anti-diabetic drugs. They work by increasing the levels of incretin hormones in the body, which stimulate the pancreas to release insulin and reduce the liver's glucose production. [2].

Examples of DPP-4 inhibitors include sitagliptin, saxagliptin, and linagliptin. They are often prescribed for people with type 2 diabetes when other medications are not suitable or effective.


SGLT-2 Inhibitors

Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors are a class of medications that help the kidneys remove excess glucose from the bloodstream through urine. By doing so, they lower blood sugar levels. Canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, and empagliflozin are examples of SGLT-2 inhibitors. They are typically used in combination with other anti-diabetic drugs for type 2 diabetes management. [3].


Insulin is a hormone naturally produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. People with type 1 diabetes, and some with type 2 diabetes, may require insulin therapy. Insulin can be administered through injections or insulin pumps. [4].

The type and timing of insulin can vary based on individual needs, lifestyle, and blood sugar control goals.


Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors are medications that slow down the digestion of carbohydrates in the small intestine. This helps to control post-meal blood sugar spikes. Acarbose and miglitol are two commonly prescribed alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. [5].

They are often used in combination with other diabetes medications.


Managing diabetes requires a tailored approach that considers the individual's type of diabetes, overall health, and lifestyle. Anti-diabetic medications play a crucial role in achieving and maintaining optimal blood sugar control. Understanding how these medications work and when they are appropriate can empower individuals with diabetes and their healthcare providers to make informed treatment decisions. Always consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable anti-diabetic medication regimen for your specific needs and circumstances. Effective diabetes management involves a comprehensive strategy that may include medications, diet, exercise, and regular monitoring of blood sugar levels to ensure the best possible outcomes in the long term.


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