Many lifestyle changes have been shown to be very effective for controlling type 2 diabetes (especially in the early stages). These lifestyle changes include weight loss, becoming more physically active (see Diabetes and Exercise), and changes in diet (see Diabetic Diet). In fact, these changes are important for all people with type 2 diabetes, including people taking diabetes medications.
For many people, lifestyle changes alone may not be enough to adequately control type 2 diabetes. For these people, medications (including oral and injectable medications) may be necessary.
There are a variety of different types of insulin and other injectable medications for type 2 diabetes, including:
- Incretin mimetics
- Amylin analogues.
There are a variety of different insulins available, including short-, rapid-, long-, or intermediate-acting insulins.
There are four incretin mimetics available: exenatide (Byetta®), long-acting exenatide (Bydureon®), iraglutide (Victoza®), and dulaglutide (Trulicity™). They work by acting like the hormone incretin in the body, increasing insulin production and slowing digestion. Byetta is taken twice daily, while Victoza is taken once daily and Bydureon and Trulicity are both taken just once a week. All are taken as an injection just under the skin (by subcutaneous injection).
There is one amylin analogue available, called pramlintide (Symlin®). This medication works like the hormone amylin in the body, increasing insulin production, slowing digestion, decreasing the production of glucose by the liver, and reducing appetite.