How do the pills for diabetes work?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,903
    Diabetes expert Kathy Reily discusses diabetes, including how pills for diabetes work.

    Host: How do the pills for diabetes work?

    Kathy Reily: There are several different types of pills used to treat type 2 diabetes and they all work in a little bit different way. One of the more common types of pills to treat type 2 diabetes works directly on the pancreas. It actually forces more insulin out of the pancreas so that there is more insulin in the system during the day when we are eating and a little bit more at night when we are sleeping and that will help control the blood sugar.

    There is another type of pill that works on the liver. One of the functions of the liver is to store sugar for us but with diabetes, sometimes the liver doesn't release this sugar in a trickle or a slow manner and it starts to dump some of it out during the day and night and one of the pills is used to help shut off this dumping of sugar from the liver. We have another kind of pill that actually works directly on the muscle cell. It forces the cell open to help the sugar get inside of that cell which is of common problem especially in people with type 2 diabetes. They do have some resistance, the cell doesn't want to open up to let the sugar in from the bloodstream and this particular pill helps that cell open up so the sugar is able to get out of the bloodstream and into the cell and we can combine some of these pills. You can take one, two or three of them. It's called combination therapy but those are the most common types of pills that are used to treat type 2 diabetes.