People with diabetes are often given medications—including insulin—to help manage their blood glucose levels. These medications may be in the form of tablets and some are given by injection. These tablets or injections are intended to be used together with healthy eating and regular physical activity, not as a substitute.
Occasionally, medications lead to side effects. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any problems. Alternative medications are usually available.
If you want more information about your medication you should talk with your doctor, pharmacist or diabetes educator. You can also use the websites below:
Read more about medications in our fact sheets:
When you have type 1 diabetes
Your body can no longer make insulin, as the cells in the pancreas have been destroyed by the immune system. To compensate for the insulin that your body can no longer make, you will need insulin injections several times a day, or insulin via an insulin pump.
When you have type 2 diabetes
Your diabetes is managed through healthy eating and regular physical activity. Over time, you may also need to add glucose-lowering medications such as tablets to manage your diabetes. You may also need injectable medications (insulin and non-insulin types) to help keep your blood glucose levels within your target range.
When you have gestational diabetes
Your diabetes is managed by following a healthy eating plan, regular physical activity, and monitoring blood glucose levels. You may also need medication or insulin injections to help manage gestational diabetes.
If you start using insulin or a non-insulin injectable medication (such as Byetta® or Victoza®), your doctor or diabetes educator should notify the NDSS of these changes to your medication, so you will be able to access syringes or pen needles through the NDSS.
How are you going with your diabetes health checks?
Your medications should be reviewed every year as part of your diabetes health checks.
Regular checks can help prevent serious diabetes-related complications like problems with your feet, eyes, heart and kidneys. Individual members of your health care team will let you know how often you need checks, so you can schedule them into your calendar.