What Are the Current Trends in the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes?

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In the United States, 8.3 percent of the population is affected by diabetes, with 25.8 million people affected, according to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. Type 2 diabetes is traditionally treated with lifestyle changes and medications for most patients. However, it is important for all patients to keep up with all of the current trends in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Drug Intervention

In recent years, type 2 diabetes patients have begun receiving earlier drug intervention. In 1994, 1.14 diabetes medications were prescribed per treated patient. Fast forward to 2007 where 1.63 diabetes medications were prescribed. Because of earlier drug intervention, patients are seeing their doctors far more often. In 1994, about 29 million people saw their doctor for diabetes' related care. Fast forward to 2007 where about 45 million people saw their doctors for diabetes' related care.

The most common combination of drugs are metformin and glimepiride plus glyburide plus a TZD. Metformin is also very commonly used alone. Metformin is a drug that works to reduce how much glucose the body is able to absorb from food and how much glucose the liver produces. It also works to increase how the body responds to insulin.

Glimepiride works to make the body more sensitive to insulin and causes the pancreas to produce more insulin. This medication is sometimes used along with insulin, but can be used alone.

Glyburide helps the body better use insulin and causes the pancreas to release more insulin.

Sulfonylureas used to be the main type of medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, but current trends in the treatment of type 2 diabetes have shifted and their use has declined significantly.

As of 2007, the insulin’s lispro and glargine became the most commonly prescribed. These are insulin analogues.

There is not a lot of data available for the newer diabetes medications, but the data that is available suggests that they are being widely used in treatment regimens. Some of the most commonly used include exenatide and sitagliptin. Exenatide works to lower blood sugar by stimulating the release of insulin when blood sugar levels are high. Sitagliptin helps to lower blood sugar by increasing other natural substances in the body. It is classified as a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor.


Taylor, J.R. PharmD, CDE. (2009). Trends in Treating Type 2 Diabetes. Retrieved on March 29, 2011 from Endocrine Today: https://www.endocrinetoday.com/view.aspx?rid=37366

Looker, H.C. MBBS. et al. (2010). Secular Trends in Treatment and Control of Type 2 Diabetes in an American Indian Population: A 30-Year Longitudinal Study. Retrieved on March 29, 2011 from the Diabetes Care Journal: https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/11/2383.full

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. (2011). National Diabetes Statistics, 2011. Retrieved on March 29, 2011 from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse: https://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/statistics/