What determines when I can stop taking diabetic medications?

William Lee Dubois
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism

First and foremost, what type of diabetic you are determines your medication future. If you’re a Type-1 like me, you can stop taking your meds when you die. Yeah. No kidding on that one. T-1s produce no insulin, and without taking insulin shots we don’t last too long.

If you have gestational diabetes you can generally stop taking your meds after giving birth to your baby, but exactly how long after you give birth can vary quite a bit so you and your doctor should have a plan in place in advance. Generally, if you are on insulin for gestational diabetes, you’ll stop right away, if you are on pills you’ll probably keep taking them for a few weeks.

If you’re a Type-2 Diabetic, things are more complicated. Don’t get depressed on me, but know that diabetes is both chronic and progressive. That means it’s permanent and gets worse over time. And that means diabetic medications are very likely a permanent and progressing part of your life. Not only is it unlikely that you’ll ever get to stop them, but most likely you’ll need both higher quantities and more prescriptions over time.

That said, there may be a loophole. If you’re very much over weight, sedentary (fancy medical word for couch potato), and have a horrible diet there’s an opportunity for you to either reduce or get off diabetic medications entirely by making radical changes to your life.

As you improve your diet, start losing weight, and start exercising more, you’ll need less and less medication to keep your blood sugars normal. Will you get to the point of actually being able to stop all your diabetic meds? It’s possible.

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.