What pills do you take for diabetes?

What are the pills that some doctors prescribe for diabetics?

The pills that some adult diabetics take have the trade names Orinase, Tolinase, Diabenese and Dymelor. They are called oral hypoglycemics. Oral means you take them by mouth; hypo means low, and glycemic refers to blood sugar. Put that all together and you have a pill that lowers blood sugar.

These pills work by making the person's own pancreas produce more insulin. Only diabetics who are still making some insulin on their own can use them. If you are the type of diabetic who can't keep your blood sugar normal on diet and exercise alone, your doctor may consider you a good candidate for these drugs. However, many doctors and diabetics prefer to go directly to insulin rather than experimenting with the drugs first. There are several reasons why.

No one knows if the drugs are safe. Since the 1990 study by the University Group Diabetes Program, many physicians have stopped prescribing the oral hypoglycemics, because this research revealed that they may increase the risk of dying from heart disease. The FDA has even issued a statement on the dangers of side effects of the pills. This must be distributed with them.

The pills have also been accused of causing weight gain, the very thing an adult diabetic generally doesn't need. Another problem is that certain diabetics have a temporary success with the pills, as June did, and then the pills stop working for them. In that case, there is nothing to do but switch to insulin. (One great advantage of insulin is that over the last sixty years it has proven itself to be perfectly safe.)

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