New FDA-Approved Diabetes Medications

For National Diabetes Month, I would like to share new, more convenient forms of diabetic medications that have recently surfaced on the market. 

by Shane Power, President of Watertree Health 

According to the 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report, more than 30 million people in America have diabetes, and that number is only expected to increase. Even more alarming is the fact that 7.2 million of that total are undiagnosed. Diabetes requires a daily shot of insulin or sometimes emergency glucagon, but thankfully there are a few newly-developed medications that will help make the routine less daunting. Remember, always consult with your physician before modifying your medication program.

Daily Medications

Rybelsus is the latest oral type 2 diabetes medication that was approved by the FDA and is said to be on par with injectables. It helps reduce blood sugar levels, slows digestion, prevents sugar overproduction in the liver, and helps the pancreas produce insulin when needed. It’s recommended to be taken before a meal with only a small amount of unflavored water. 

Another new medication is Humalog (insulin pen), which is recognized as a “fast-acting” insulin that begins to work 15 minutes after injection and continues to work up to 4 hours. The benefit of this medication is the added convenience–it’s a prefilled, disposable pen that does not require measuring the dosage and using a syringe. It is typically given within fifteen minutes before a meal or immediately after a meal, and may be used in regimens with other long-acting insulin for coverage throughout the day. This medication is prescribed to help control blood sugar levels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. 

Emergency “Rescue” Medications

Baqsimi is administered as a nasal spray to quickly release the hormone glucagon into the bloodstream. This hormone causes the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose, which is later released into the bloodstream. This medication requires no mixing or preparation, unlike current glucagon kits, and requires no inhalation (in case the receiver is unconscious). Baqsimi comes in a small tube and works just as well as an injectable kit. In a small study, this medication was proven to be more accurately distributed amongst users by caregivers, making it a more effective method.

If you find that the prices of these new medications are too expensive, talk to your pharmacy–they can be a great resource for helping bring costs down. Please share this article with friends and family, especially those living with diabetes.

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