What You Should Know about Diabetes Medicine

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Diabetes medicines lower your blood sugar. If you understand how your diabetes medicine works, you can more easily balance pills or insulin with food and physical activity to control your diabetes. The different types of diabetes medicines that help lower your blood sugar include:

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What To Do

There are many different medicines that can help you control your diabetes. Most medicines should be taken at about the same time each day. Medicines should be taken as directed.

Talk with your medical provider, diabetes educator, or pharmacist:

Diabetes Medicine Information
Type Medicine Brand name Side effects Comments
Sulfonylureas glimepiride
Amaryl® Diabeta® Glynase- PresTab® Micronase® Low Blood Sugar
Weight gain
Take with Meal.
glipizide Glucotrol® Glucotrol XL® Low Blood Sugar
Weight gain
Take 30 minutes before meal.

repaglinide Prandin™ Low Blood Sugar
Weight gain
Should be taken within 30 minutes before a meal. You must eat if you have taken this medication.
  nateglinide Starlix®  
Biguanides metformin Glucophage® Glucophage XR® Diarrhea/Nausea Stomach upset Bloating Take with food. Does not cause weight gain.Caution if over 80 years old or heart failure.
pioglitazone rosiglitazone Actos™ Avandia® Weight gain Fluid build up May keep birth control pills from working. Take at same time every day. Does not need to be taken with meals. Liver function blood test needed.
glucosidase Inhibitors
acarbose miglitol Precose™ Glyset™ Bloating, Gas Taken with first bite of each meal (up to 4 doses a day).
Combination Drugs




Actos Plus®
Same side effects as individual drugs  

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Help Your Medicines Help You

The medicines you take help you stay healthy and keep your blood sugar in good control. Work in partnership with your medical provider to make sure you get the best results. Here are some tips:

Do you struggle with the cost of your diabetes drugs?

They can be hard to pay for. Sometimes people skip taking their medicine because of the cost. Be sure to let your medical provider know if this is a problem for you. You may be eligible for financial assistance with your medicines.

Refer to this list for some resources

Healthy Vermonters Prescription Drug Program - This program is for those who have no insurance for prescription medicines or those who do not have enough income to pay for medicines.
www.dsw.state.vt.us/Programs_Pages/Healthcare/Healthy_vermonters.htmor call 1-800-250-8427.

Medicare Part D - Medicare now provides a prescription drug plan regardless of income, health status or prescription drug usage.
or call 1-800-633-4227.

United Health Alliance (UHA) - UHA runs a medicine assistance program in the Bennington, VT area.
www.unitedhealthalliance.com/ or call 802-447-3170.

Veteran’s Administration - Call 1-866-687-8387

Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Assistance (PMA) - PMA is an in-house program at various drug companies, run in Vermont by Northeast Kingdom Community Action (NEKCA). You can call NEKCA at 800-639-4065 (VT only) for help in applying. The program is run statewide, not just in the Northeast Kingdom.

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