Along with eating well and keeping active, there is a wide range of medications available to help people manage their diabetes and stay healthy.

Starting a new medication can be a big change in your life. Be sure to ask your doctor, pharmacist or diabetes educator:

  • the name of your medication
  • what it does
  • what the side effects are
  • when to take it
  • what affect alcohol may have
  • whether or not to take your medication if you become sick or have to fast for a procedure.

Everyone’s diabetes is different. Some medications will suit you, and others will not. Keep in mind that you may need to change your medications over time.

If you have type 1 diabetes, taking insulin every day is essential. Without it you will become seriously unwell and require treatment in hospital.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may not need any medications at first. However, most people do benefit from taking one or two medications as things change. Many people with type 2 diabetes find that taking insulin is the best way to manage their blood glucose levels.

If you have gestational diabetes (GDM), your endocrinologist may recommend you start taking insulin. This is safe for you and your baby. Usually, you will stop taking insulin after the birth.

All medications have benefits and side effects. Ask your doctor, pharmacist or diabetes educator about these. And report any concerns you have when taking a new medication.


Insulin is a hormone made in an organ called the pancreas. Insulin’s job is to stop glucose levels in your blood from rising too high. Glucose (a type of sugar) from food is your body’s main source of energy. It is transported via your bloodstream to your muscles and other cells throughout your body.


In Australia, there are many kinds of tablets for people with type 2 diabetes. They all work in different ways and some come in combination forms with others. Your doctor, endocrinologist or nurse practitioner will help you find the best treatment for you.

Non-Insulin Injectables

There is a type of medication for type 2 diabetes which is injected but is not insulin. Instead, this medication increases the level of a different hormone, called an ‘incretin’.
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