Diabetes Home > Actos Alternatives
Meglitinides are similar to sulfonylureas (they work by forcing the pancreas to produce more insulin). However, they are short-acting and are less likely to cause dangerously low blood sugar. They are usually taken before every meal. Meglitinides include:
These medications work mostly by helping the body to use its natural insulin better. In addition to Actos, there is one other glitazone currently available -- rosiglitazone (Avandia®).
Alpha Glucosidase Inhibitors
These medications prevent the breakdown of sugar and carbohydrates in the digestive tract, slowing their absorption. These medications are used to decrease blood sugar levels after meals. These medications include:
Dipeptidyl Peptidase Inhibitors
This is a relatively new class of oral diabetes drugs. Currently, there are four medications available in the group -- alogliptin (Nesina®), linagliptin (Tradjenta®), sitagliptin (Januvia®), and saxagliptin (Onglyza®). These drugs increase incretin levels in the body. Incretin is a hormone that helps to control blood sugar.
One ergot alkaloid, bromocriptine (Cycloset®) is approved for treating type 2 diabetes. Bromocriptine is actually an older medication that has been used for quite some time for other uses, although it was only recently approved for treating diabetes.
Bromocriptine works uniquely, compared to other diabetes medications. It works as a dopamine receptor agonist, which means that it binds to and stimulates dopamine receptors. It is thought that stimulating dopamine receptors in the brain at certain times of the day "resets" the biological clock and improves metabolism. It is thought that seasonal changes in the metabolism of wild animals are due to similar mechanisms.