Why Your Medication Changes
You may need a different diabetes medication over time
If you’re nervous about trying a different medication, think of it this way: there are 3 parts of your diabetes management plan: meal planning (diet), activity level (exercise) and medication. And, as your diabetes changes, you will work with your doctor to adjust all 3. Just as your activity routines and meal planning change over time — your treatment can too. Change can be scary, but your doctor will help you know what is best for you in each part of your treatment plan. Try to be open to the adjustments your doctor makes including different medications, knowing these changes are what your body may need to help you keep your blood sugar on track. Learn about how Greg, Amy and Julie managed changes to their treatment plan.
Watch their stories
Everyone has their own story, choose one of the TeamingUp Champions below to see his or her path towards better blood sugar control.
Hey, I’m Greg
I recently started long-acting insulin
Before long-acting insulin
My first medication was metformin, a pill. After that my doctor added and removed different pills, but nothing was working. He mentioned long-acting insulin. I did not like the idea of injecting myself with insulin, but my diabetes had me feeling frustrated and exhausted. I was spending a lot of time in bed, hardly living the life I wanted to live. I was ready to give up, but my daughter reminded me to keep going. The next time my doctor suggested long-acting insulin, I was ready to give it a try.
Adding long-acting insulin
Adding long-acting insulin was not easy, but my doctor and I decided along with diet and exercise, it was the best way to get closer to my goals. At the beginning I was nervous about injecting myself, but with the support of my doctor and family, I was able to get over it quicker than I thought. Starting insulin was not like I would have imagined. Keeping in close contact with my doctor and creating a routine for when to take my injections helped me. It wasn’t easy, but once my blood sugar numbers were in the recommended range, I felt more in control.
After adding long-acting insulin
I wish I hadn’t waited so long to start on long-acting insulin. It was hard to adjust, but my doctor explained that my body was not producing enough of its own insulin. He told me insulin is what helps my body move sugar from my blood into my body's cells for energy. After my doctor and I saw my A1C, we knew that long-acting insulin was the right choice. My family and I talk openly about how we are dealing with my diabetes. They support me every step of the way, be that a walk together, eating healthy, or making sure I remember to take my medicine. Diabetes is a lifelong challenge; it takes time and effort to figure out, but you can make progress and that success feels great!
Hi, my name is Amy
My doctor and I needed to find a long-acting insulin that was right for me
Before beginning my newly prescribed insulin
I was taking a long-acting insulin in a standard 300 unit pen, but was still having some trouble reaching the blood sugar goals my doctor gave me. While my numbers weren’t terrible, they weren’t where we wanted them to be. My doctor and I made some changes to my diet and exercise routines, but something wasn’t working. My doctor said it was time to think about changing my medicine.
Changing my longer-acting insulin
My doctor recommended changing to a different longer-acting insulin to help get my numbers under control. She compared changing my insulin to changing my diet and exercise routine. Just as we worked together to adjust my eating habits and physical activity — we would work to change my newly prescribed insulin. Figuring out the right dose for my body took some time. I needed to focus on my blood sugar levels, which meant checking more often, and tracking my diet and exercise. It was an emotional time; I kept wondering whether changing my insulin meant my diabetes had gotten really bad. Thankfully, I had my doctor’s support; she reminded me that diabetes can change over time, even if I am trying my best to manage it.
Adjusting to my newly prescribed longer-acting insulin
Adjusting my dose on the newly prescribed longer-acting insulin took some time, but it was a step towards better blood sugar control for me. Talk to your doctor to see if longer-acting insulin may be right for you.
Hi, I'm Julie
I needed a medication that manage my blood sugar all throughout the day
Before my Combo Medicine
Before my doctor prescribed this treatment, I was taking metformin and long-acting insulin at nighttime. So when I started to see my numbers sneak higher and higher, I thought it was something I’d done, or wasn’t doing. I cut down on carbs and walked more often, for longer distances and began testing more frequently. I continued to keep track of everything and share it with my doctor. That’s actually what shed light on the changes my body was going through.
Adding a combo medicine
After my doctor prescribed an injectable that was a long-acting insulin and GLP-1 RA combination, it was an adjustment for me. But after creating a routine to take my injection at a new time of day, now it's just how I start my day! My doctor told me I needed to test my blood sugar more often and keep track, so we could talk about the results and she could adjust my dose, if needed. This new treatment is working for me, and my numbers are improving.
After adding a combination GLP-1 RA/ Insulin treatment
In my case, it took about a month to see it starting to work. I tried my best to be patient. I had to build habits around my new plan, and stick to them. I don't go anywhere overnight without my diabetes medicine, so that way I can keep my morning routine. My new plan is working and I feel much better. In fact, my doctor is so pleased with my progress that she uses me as an example for other patients in her practice. Talk to your doctor to see if a combo GLP-1 RA/Insulin might be appropriate for you.
These stories are based on real people and have been provided for generalized education purposes only. Your healthcare professional is the single best source of information regarding your health. Please consult your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your health or treatment. Individual results may vary.
Here’s a look at some medications your doctor may add to your treatment plan
GLP-1 Receptor Agonist
A GLP-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 RA) helps your pancreas make more insulin, which helps lower blood sugar. GLP-1 RA helps decrease the amount of blood sugar made by your liver. It also helps slow down the breakdown of foods in your stomach and intestines, which slows down the increase in blood sugar.
Possible side effects of GLP-1 RA: The most common side effect of GLP-1 RA is nausea. Some people also experience vomiting or diarrhea. These side effects tend to occur when you first begin using a GLP-1 RA.
help decrease the amount of blood sugar made by your liver. They also help improve the way your body responds to insulin.
help your pancreas make more insulin; insulin helps lower blood sugar.
DPP-4 (Dipeptidyl peptidase-4) Inhibitors
prevent the breakdown of GLP-1 so that GLP-1 can help the pancreas make more insulin after meals.
SGLT-2 (Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2) Inhibitors
help lower blood sugar by causing the kidneys to remove sugar from the body through the urine.
help insulin work better in your muscles and fat cells and reduce the sugar produced in the liver.
Possible side effects of oral medications: Each oral treatment works in a different way and can have different side effects. Some possible side effects may include: gas, diarrhea, upset stomach, risk for low blood sugar, weight gain, yeast infections, and urinary tract infections.
Long-acting/Longer-acting insulin (also called basal insulin) provides blood sugar-lowering activity for approximately 24-36 hours. Along with the rest of your treatment plan, it can help control your blood sugar between meals and while you are sleeping.
Intermediate-acting insulin begins working 2-4 hours after you take it and helps lower your blood sugar for 12-18 hours.
Mealtime insulin is released quickly, helping you control your blood sugar after meals.
Possible side effects of insulin: The most common side effect of insulin is low blood sugar. Some people may experience symptoms of low blood sugar such as shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, and blurred vision, while some experience no symptoms at all.
GLP-1 RA/Long-acting Insulin Combo
The GLP-1 RA helps your pancreas make more insulin, which helps lower blood sugar, decrease the amount of blood sugar made by your liver, slow down the breakdown of foods in your stomach and intestines, which slows down the increase in blood sugar. The long-acting insulin in the combo provides blood sugar-lowering activity for approximately 24 hours.
Possible side effects of GLP-1 RA/Long-acting Insulin Combo: The most common side effects of GLP-1 is nausea. Some people also experience vomiting or diarrhea. These side effects tends to occur when you first begin using a GLP-1 RA. The most common side effect of insulin is low blood sugar. Some people may experience symptoms of low blood sugar such as shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, and blurred vision, while some experience no symptoms at all.
Glucose-Dependent Insulinotropic Polypeptide (GIP) and Glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 RA)
This helps your body release insulin when blood sugar is high and removes excess sugar from the blood. It also impacts the amount of sugar that your liver produces. It works differently to curb appetite by reducing the amount of food that can be eaten and slowing down the speed at which food exits your stomach.
Possible side effects of GIP and GLP-1 RA: The most common side effects are nausea, diarrhea, decreased appetite, vomiting, constipation, indigestion, and stomach pain.