Skip to content
The NDSS is administered by Diabetes Australia
Read aloud

Medications

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.

Ask your doctor, diabetes nurse practitioner or diabetes educator if your dose of diabetes medication or insulin needs to be adjusted while you are on steroid medication.

Everyone’s body reacts a little differently to medications. Take note of any unusual symptoms or side effects you might experience when starting a new medication or changing the type or dose. Make an appointment to see your doctor or diabetes nurse practitioner to let them know you are experiencing unusual symptoms or side effects so they can change your dose or even swap medication types. The goal is to find the treatment that works best for you.

Read the information leaflet that comes with the medication or ask your pharmacist for the Consumer Medicines Information leaflet.

Read more about medications in our fact sheets:

More information and support

  • Call the NDSS Helpline on 1800 637 700 and ask to speak to a diabetes educator.
  • For more information about your medication call the National Prescribing Service on the Medicine Line 1300 636 424 or go to Medicine Finder.

When you have type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is managed by replacing the insulin your body can no longer make. Insulin is given by injection or by using an insulin pump. Your doctor or diabetes nurse practitioner will work with you to decide on the type of insulin you need and recommend how often you need to take it. This will depend on your lifestyle and individual needs.

When you have type 2 diabetes

Your diabetes can be managed with healthy eating and regular physical activity. Over time, you may also need to add glucose-lowering medicines such as tablets or non-insulin injectable medications to lower blood glucose levels. When type 2 diabetes progresses, some people will need insulin injections to help keep their blood glucose levels in their 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.

Medication changes

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?

It is essential to do an annual cycle of care to find any health problems early. Without regular checks, diabetes can lead to health problems that can affect your whole body, including your kidneys, eyes, feet, nerves and heart. Ask your doctor for the timing of health checks and targets that meet your individual health needs.

Your medications should be reviewed every year as part of your diabetes health checks.

Read more in our fact sheet Your diabetes annual cycle of care or listen to our Annual cycle of care podcast series.

Featured resources