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Can I ever stop taking my diabetes medicine?

Nicole Nelson
Emergency Medicine
You should never stop taking your diabetes medicine without consulting your physician. You may be able to stop your medication if you lose weight or increase your physical activity. Your physician will need to follow you closely to see when it may be safe to stop your medication and to see how you do without it.
Joseph Miccoli
Family Medicine

You should never stop taking medication prescribed without discussing it with your doctor. That being said, Diabetes comes in two forms, Type I and Type II or Insulin Dependent and Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes. For those with Type I or Insulin Dependent Diabetes, they need to supplement the insulin that the body is no longer making, so they will be taking that medication for the rest of their lives. This is the minority type of diabetes (about 15% of diabetics)

Type II or Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes is the majority of diabetics (about 85%) and has a lot to do with insulin resistance rather than a lack of insulin production. This resistance occurs generally due to the patient being overweight and the cells of the body being constantly saturated in glucose. For these patients, the loss of weight through diet and exercise can reduce or eliminate the need for oral diabetes medications. However the opposite can also occur, in that failure to maintain tight glycemic control in the Type II diabetic can bring on the need to start using insulin to control blood sugar levels.

Alan Gaby
Nutrition & Dietetics

The nutritional management of diabetes is complicated, and is discussed in detail in my textbook, Nutritional Medicine (www.doctorgaby.com).

People with type 1 diabetes do not make insulin in their body, and will therefore need to continue insulin therapy indefinitely. In many cases, people with type 2 diabetes can be managed effectively with dietary modifications and nutritional supplements. Dietary modifications that may be beneficial include losing weight if overweight; avoiding refined sugar and other refined carbohydrates; and emphasizing foods that are high in fiber (particularly legumes). Nutritional supplements that may lower blood sugar levels include chromium and biotin.

For diabetics with advanced kidney disease, dietary changes can be dangerous. In addition, starting a diet-and-supplement program may require a change in the dosage of diabetes medication. For these and other reasons, people with diabetes should always consult a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner before starting a nutrition program for diabetes.

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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.