What should I know about oral diabetes drugs?

The important thing to know about oral diabetes drugs is that they can be used only by people with type 2 diabetes -- not type 1. Oral diabetes drugs are also not considered safe for use by pregnant women.

It's also important to recognize that oral diabetes drugs can't take the place of good lifestyle habits. You still need to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to control your blood sugar and stay healthy overall. Finally, oral diabetes drugs work best in people who are newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. If you already take significant amounts of insulin or have had diabetes for 10 years or longer, oral diabetes drugs may not be the right choice for you. Talk to your doctor about whether you are a good candidate for oral diabetes drugs.
When choosing an oral diabetes drug, several factors need to be considered. You should not take a sulfonylurea if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy or you have significant heart, liver, or kidney disease. During severe infections, surgery, or hospitalizations, you may need to replace your oral diabetes medications with insulin injections, at least temporarily. You should probably avoid sulfonylurea drugs if you are allergic to sulfa drugs. You should not take metformin if you have kidney, heart, or liver disease.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.