Metformin (Glucophage) is usually the first diabetes medication offered, it reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver and helps the body respond to the insulin it produces.
Sulphonylureas like Glibenclamide (Daonil) or gliclazide (Diamicron) stimulate insulin release and can sometimes cause hypos, when the blood glucose drops, if meals are missed or irregular. They offer no benefits for weight loss, hypoglycaemia avoidance or heart or kidney protection
Alpha-glucosidase inhibitor - Acarbose (Glucobay) slows down the absorption of starchy foods, so there is a more gradual rise in glucose levels after a meal. They offer no benefits for weight loss, hypoglycaemia avoidance or heart or kidney protection
Prandial glucose regulators – Repaglinide (Prandin) Like sulphonylureas, they stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin. However, because they act more quickly and for a shorter time, they’re usually taken thirty minutes before a meal. They offer no benefits for weight loss, hypoglycaemia avoidance or heart or kidney protection
Glitazones – Pioglitazone (Actos) reduces the body’s resistance to the action of insulin so that insulin can work more effectively. It can also help lower blood pressure and improve the proportion of good to bad cholesterol in the blood-stream. They may cause weight gain and fluid retention.
DPP4 inhibitors - Gliptins such as sitagliptin (Januvia), alogliptin (Vipidia), vildagliptin (Eucreas), saxagliptin (Onyglyza) and linagliptin (Trajenta) block the DPP4 enzyme, which breaks down the hormone incretin. With higher incretin levels, the body produces more insulin and less glucose. They do not offer benefits for heart or kidney disease and their use does not result in weight loss
SGLT2 Inhibitors – Dapagliflozin (Forxiga), canagliflozin (Invokana), empagliflozin (Jardiance), ertugliflozin (Steglatro) all reduce blood glucose by increasing the amount excreted by the kidneys. In general, the drugs cause some weight loss, and never cause low glucose. Most are protective for kidney and heart disease