Thiazolidinediones or glitazones are the first class of medication designed to reverse the basic problem in Type 2 diabetes of resistance to insulin. Insulin resistance appears to be associated with high blood pressure and the high triglycerides/low HDL cholesterol problem that puts many people with Type 2 diabetes at risk for heart disease.
Things in the about diabetes section.
Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors or starch blockers help control blood sugars by slowing down the digestion of complex carbohydrates. This greatly reduces the spikes that may be seen in blood sugar after meals and, surprisingly, also tends to lower the fasting blood sugar. The two medications in this group, Precose and Glyset, are taken with every meal.
Two drugs from the biguanide class, metformin and phenformin, were developed in 1957. Metformin was eventually found to be 20 times less likely to cause lactic acidosis, but it was tainted by the history of its phenformin.
Sulfonylureas, the first drug group introduced into the U.S. in 1955, stimulates the beta cells to produce more insulin. These drugs have kept many Type 2’s off injected insulin. Sulfonylureas will not work in those with Type 1 diabetes (except for a specific type) nor in anyone with Type 2 whose beta cells no longer produce insulin.
We all know that insulin, either naturally from beta cell or injected from outside, affects the level of glucose in the blood. Other compounds from the gut, called Incretins, also lower the glucose level, as well as affects other biologic areas. In 1902, researchers first proposed that the gut might directly signal the pancreas. The term incretin was first used in 1930 to describe the enhanced glucose lowering effect that was seen when a gut extract was fed to dogs. In the 1960s, researchers discovered that almost twice as much insulin was released when they infused glucose directly into the gut rather than into the blood as an IV solution. This renewed the search for compounds produced by the gut that might contribute to lowering the glucose.
For some, the thought of getting a shot is scary. Doctors and patients have been hoping for an alternative to insulin injections since the beginning of its use. Take a look at the pages below to find out about some interesting ideas.