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Pharmacological Agents for Clients with Type 2 Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes) is an autoimmune condition in which the pancreas fails to produce insulin, a hormone needed for glucose to enter cells. Insulin administration maintains blood glucose control for people with type 1 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes (diabetes mellitus) insulin is produced yet not assimilated properly, leading to insulin resistance. The American Diabetes Association describes type 2 diabetes as the most common type of diabetes. Adhering to a diet plan and exercising may be sufficient for some individuals, while others require diabetic medications or insulin therapy. Your physician will determine suitable treatment options based on your lifestyle and health needs.

Drug Therapies for Clients With Type 2 Diabetes:

Various medications are available for clients with type 2 diabetes. A commonly prescribed drug is Metformin (Glucophage), which is often recommended with a nutritional meal plan and exercise. The Mayo Clinic shares the following insights on Metformin, “It works by improving the sensitivity of your body tissues to insulin so that your body uses insulin more effectively. Metformin also lowers glucose production in the liver.” Other pharmacological agents for diabetes include sulfonylureas, meglitinides, thiazolidinediones, SGLT2 inhibitors, insulin therapy, and others. Glyburide (DiaBeta), glipizide (Gluctrol), and glimerpiride (Amaryl) are types of sulfonylureas that increase the release of insulin to balance blood glucose. SGLT2 inhibitors are a new class of medications that inhibit reabsorption of glucose. The Mayo Clinic comments on SGLT2 inhibitors (canagliflozin and dapagliflozin) stating, “They work by preventing the kidneys from reabsorbing sugar in the blood. Instead, the sugar is excreted in the urine.”

Insulin therapy is also used in the management of type 2 diabetes. Insulin may be given in conjunction to diabetic medications or replace oral drug therapies altogether. The Mayo Clinic shares insights on insulin therapy mentioning, “Some people who have type 2 diabetes need insulin therapy as well. In the past, insulin therapy was used as last resort, but today it's often prescribed sooner because of its benefits.”

Discuss with your physician drug facts and establish a medication regimen. It’s also important to report any changes in health. Diabetic medications have the potential of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). Glucose levels should be monitored prior to taking diabetic medications to prevent hypoglycemia. Symptoms of low blood sugar include dizziness, sweating, shakiness, slurred speech, and others. The Mayo Clinic provides the following suggestions for hypoglycemia, “If you have signs or symptoms of low blood sugar, drink or eat something that will quickly raise your blood sugar level — fruit juice, glucose tablets, hard candy, regular (not diet) soda or another source of sugar. Retest in 15 minutes to be sure your blood glucose levels are normal.” Clients may also experience hyperglycemia (increase blood glucose) when lacking adherence to medications or diet plan. Hyperglycemia can also result from stress or illness. Check blood glucose levels and report abnormal symptoms such as, increase thirst, increase eating, and increase urination to your physician. The doctor may change or adjust the plan of care. Adhering to the medication regimen, monitoring blood glucose, and keeping a healthy diet are essential for glucose control and wellbeing.

The American Diabetes Association recommends the following:

Cutting down on the amount of food you eat might also help. Work with your dietitian to make changes in your meal plan. If exercise and changes in your diet don't work, your doctor may change the amount of your medication or insulin or possibly the timing of when you take it.

There are various pharmacological agents for clients with type 2 diabetes. When used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise clients can improve glucose control. Adhering to the plan of care may be sufficient for some individuals with type 2 diabetes, whereas others require pharmacological adjustments and insulin therapy.

* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare practitioner prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions.

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Yeneilyn is a Registered Nurse in the state of Florida since 2006. Her nursing practice began in the field of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Hospital and expanded to care for clients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She was provided the opportunity as LPN Instructor, which changed the course of her nursing career. She states, “Teaching nursing students expanded my view on positive influences nurses contribute beyond beside care. Nurses are central leaders in health education, client advocacy, and disease prevention.” Currently, Yeneilyn writes health articles and prepares Continuing Education (C.E.) courses for healthcare professionals. She continues her studies in the field of Nursing Education and evidenced-based nursing practice. In her free time she enjoys sharing time with family and friends.

For questions or topics of interest contact Nurse Yenny at:    




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