Metformin (Fortamet®, Glucophage®, Glucophage XR®, Glumetza®, or Riomet®) is the only biguanide medication currently available. Metformin works by helping the body use its natural insulin better. It also decreases sugar (glucose) production by the liver, and decreases sugar absorption from the diet.
Sulfonylureas are medications that force the pancreas to make more insulin. As a result, they are very effective at controlling blood sugar, but are also more likely to cause dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). These diabetes medications can include:
- Chlorpropamide (Diabinese®)
- Glimepiride (Amaryl®)
- Glipizide (Glucotrol®, Glucotrol XL®)
- Glyburide (DiaBeta®, Micronase®, Glynase®)
- Tolazamide (Tolinase®)
- Tolbutamide (Orinase®).
Meglitinides are similar to sulfonylureas, in that they force the pancreas to produce more insulin. However, they are short-acting and are less likely to cause dangerously low blood sugar. They are usually taken before every meal. Meglitinides can include:
These medications work mostly by helping the body to use its natural insulin better. There are currently two thiazolidinediones available for type 2 diabetes treatment:
Dipeptidyl Peptidase Inhibitors
This is a relatively new class of oral diabetes drugs. Currently, there are four medications available in the group -- alogliptin (Nesina®), linagliptin (Tradjenta®), sitagliptin (Januvia®), and saxagliptin (Onglyza®). These drugs increase incretin levels in the body. Incretin is a hormone that helps to control blood sugar.