Medicines for diabetes mellitus

Synonyms in a broader sense

Sugar, diabetes, adult diabetes, type I, type II, gestational diabetes, insulin

English: diabetes
Literal translation: "Honey-sweet flow"

Definition of diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus (Diabetes) is a chronic metabolic disease that can be traced back to an absolute or relative insulin deficiency.
The hallmark of this disease is a permanent high blood sugar level (Hyperglycemia) and urine sugar. The cause is the inadequate effect of the hormone insulin on the liver cells, muscle cells and fat cells of the human body.

Therapeutic approaches

Basically there are two different therapeutic approaches of diabetes mellitus.

  1. For one thing, you try with Drugs for diabetes, which you take to support the residual function of the pancreas as much as possible so that the amount of insulin still produced is sufficient for daily needs.
  2. On the other hand, if the pancreas is no longer able to produce enough insulin, you can inject the insulin from the outside in various forms.

Oral anti-diabetic drugs / tablets

Oral anti-diabetic drugs is the medical term for Therapy of diabetes with tablets.
In general, it can be said that oral antidiabetic agents are used in the Therapy of type 2 diabetes Find.

There are different groups of active ingredients which are presented below:

  • Biguanides
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors
  • Glitazone (also: Thiazolidindione)
  • Insulin secretagogues
    • Sulfonylureas
    • Glinide


Biguanides delay the absorption of the glucose ingested with food from the intestine and lower the appetite of the diabetic, which may result in weight loss.
It also increases the utilization of glucose in the cells of the Musculature and the body's own production of new glucose in the liver (Gluconeogenesis) inhibited.
A well-known active ingredient of this group of drugs is Metformin. Preparations with this active ingredient must not be administered to diabetics with insufficient kidney function, as the diseased kidneys excrete the substance poorly.


Metformin must be discontinued 48 hours before surgery, as the combination of metformin with general anesthesia can cause serious incidents.
Your doctor must decide whether metformin needs to be temporarily replaced by another drug.

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors

Diabetes drugs from this group of antidiabetic drugs slow down the breakdown of glucose in the intestine and thus the absorption of sugar into the blood. The subsequent transport into the body cells also takes place later, so that blood sugar peaks can be avoided or flattened after eating.

Unwanted side effects of the Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, to them Acarbose and Miglitol belong are flatulence and diarrhea.

Glitazone (also: Thiazolidindione)

How this works Diabetes medication is based on the sensitization of the body cells to the action of insulin, i. The blood sugar level is lowered efficiently as the cells rely on the existing one insulin respond very well.

Rosiglitazone and Pioglitazone, both representatives of Glitazone, are often combined with metformin or sulphonylureas as part of type 2 diabetes therapy in order to produce a more efficient insulin effect.
As side effects of this diabetes medication can be Weight gains and water retention in the tissue (Edema) enter.
You can find more about edema under our topic: Edema

Insulin secretagogues

Insulin secretagogues are substances that pancreas stimulate increased insulin delivery. This group of substances includes:

  • Sulfonylureas
    The sensitivity of the insulin-producing pancreas cells to glucose is increased, thereby reducing the The release (secretion) of insulin is stimulated becomes.
    Sulfonylureas are indicated for therapy in type 2 diabetics whose pancreas still produce sufficient insulin if weight loss alone is not sufficient. However, if the gland is no longer able to produce sufficient insulin, the effect of the sulfonylureas also diminishes; Therapy with insulin must then be started, possibly in combination with sulphonylureas.

    Since the risk of hypoglycaemia is a side effect of this group of antidiabetic drugs, it must be on a regular basis and on the Medication coordinated food intake. Other side effects include allergic reactions, changes in the blood count and digestive disorders.
  • Glinide
    Glinides cause a short term after food intake increased insulin secretion takes place from the pancreas.
    It is important here to match the amount of medication to the amount of food so that an optimal effect is generated for diabetics.
    Glinide can be used as an alternative to sulfonylureas in type 2 diabetes therapy. For them too, it is only effective if the islet cells are still capable of producing insulin.

    Risk of hypoglycaemia and Digestive problems are possible side effects of Glinid,

Therapy with insulin

Further information on therapy with insulin can be found at:

  • insulin

General information about the disease can be found under our topic:

  • Diabetes mellitus