Medications for type 2 diabetes


If you have type 2 diabetes, your body makes insulin but no longer uses it well. Your body can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels normal. The goal of treatment for you is to help your body use your insulin better or to get rid of extra sugar in your blood. Most medications for type 2 diabetes are oral drugs. However, a few come as injections. Some people with type 2 diabetes may also need to take insulin.

Dopamine agonist

Bromocriptine (Cycloset) is a dopamine agonist. It’s not known exactly how this drug works to treat type 2 diabetes. It may affect rhythms in your body and prevent insulin resistance.


Biguanides decrease how much sugar your liver makes. They decrease how much sugar your intestines absorb, make your body more sensitive to insulin, and help your muscles absorb glucose. The most common biguanide is metformin (Glucophage, Metformin Hydrochloride ER, Glumetza, Riomet, Fortamet). Metformin can also be combined with other drugs for type 2 diabetes. It’s an ingredient in the following medications: metformin-alogliptin (Kazano) metformin-canagliflozin (Invokamet) metformin-dapagliflozin (Xigduo XR) metformin-empagliflozin (Synjardy) metformin-glipizide metformin-glyburide (Glucovance) metformin-linagliptin (Jentadueto) metformin-pioglitazone (Actoplus) metformin-repaglinide (PrandiMet) metformin-rosiglitazone (Avandamet) metformin-saxagliptin (Kombiglyze XR) metformin-sitagliptin (Janumet)

Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors

DPP-4 inhibitors help the body continue to make insulin. They work by reducing blood sugar without causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). These drugs can also help the pancreas make more insulin. These drugs include: alogliptin (Nesina) alogliptin-metformin (Kazano) alogliptin-pioglitazone (Oseni) linagliptin (Tradjenta) linagliptin-empagliflozin (Glyxambi) linagliptin-metformin (Jentadueto) saxagliptin (Onglyza) saxagliptin-metformin (Kombiglyze XR) sitagliptin (Januvia) sitagliptin-metformin (Janumet and Janumet XR) sitagliptin and simvastatin (Juvisync)

Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 receptor agonists)

These drugs are similar to the natural hormone called incretin. They increase B-cell growth and how much insulin your body uses. They decrease your appetite and how much glucagon your body uses. They also slow stomach emptying. These are all important actions for people with diabetes. For some people, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, heart failure, or chronic kidney disease may predominate over their diabetes. In these cases, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends certain GLP-1 receptor agonists as part of an antihyperglycemic treatment regimen. These drugs include: albiglutide (Tanzeum) dulaglutide (Trulicity) exenatide (Byetta) exenatide extended-release (Bydureon) liraglutide (Victoza) semaglutide (Ozempic)

Sodium-glucose transporter (SGLT) 2 inhibitors

Sodium-glucose transporter (SGLT) 2 inhibitors work by preventing the kidneys from holding on to glucose. Instead, your body gets rid of the glucose through your urine. In cases where atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, heart failure, or chronic kidney disease predominate, the ADA recommends SGLT2 inhibitors as a possible treatment option. dapagliflozin (Farxiga) dapagliflozin-metformin (Xigduo XR) canagliflozin (Invokana) canagliflozin-metformin (Invokamet) empagliflozin (Jardiance) empagliflozin-linagliptin (Glyxambi) empagliflozin-metformin (Synjardy) ertugliflozin (Steglatro)


These are among the oldest diabetes drugs still used today. They work by stimulating the pancreas with the help of beta cells. This causes your body to make more insulin. These drugs include: glimepiride (Amaryl) glimepiride-pioglitazone (Duetact) glimepiride-rosiglitazone (Avandaryl) gliclazide glipizide (Glucotrol) glipizide-metformin (Metaglip) glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase, Micronase) glyburide-metformin (Glucovance) chlorpropamide (Diabinese) tolazamide (Tolinase) tolbutamide (Orinase, Tol-Tab)


Thiazolidinediones work by decreasing glucose in your liver. They also help your fat cells use insulin better. These drugs come with an increased risk of heart disease. If your doctor gives you one of these drugs, they’ll watch your heart function during treatment. Options include: rosiglitazone (Avandia) rosiglitazone-glimepiride (Avandaryl) rosiglitazone-metformin (Amaryl M) pioglitazone (Actos) pioglitazone-alogliptin (Oseni) pioglitazone-glimepiride (Duetact) pioglitazone-metformin (Actoplus Met, Actoplus Met XR)

Medications for type 2 diabetes