What drugs can make people with type 2 diabetes more sensitive to insulin?

Medications used to manage type 2 diabetes can be divided into two groups: those that augment your own supply of insulin and those that make your own insulin more effective. Insulin-sensitizing agents include the following:
  • Biguanides help your liver respond better to insulin, decreasing the amount of sugar it releases. Other beneficial effects include a reduction in plasma triglyceride levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. Metformin (Glucophage and Glucophage XR [extended-release]) are currently the only agents in this class available in the United States. Both Glucophage and Glucophage XR may cause lactic acidosis, the buildup of lactic acid in the body.
  • Thiazolidinediones are insulin sensitizers that work to overcome insulin resistance by making the body's cells more sensitive to insulin. Pioglitazone (ACTOS) is an example of drugs in this class. Rosiglitazone (Avandia) also is in this class of drugs, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently restricted its use to people with type 2 diabetes who cannot control their diabetes with other medications. If you are taking Avandia, talk to your healthcare provider about the potentially increased risk of cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack and stroke.

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.