Starting a prescription medication for diabetes: What to expect
The adjustments that have to be made when you have diabetes often include taking certain prescription medications to manage the condition.
Your medication regimen is something you'll discuss in detail with your doctor, but preparing yourself for what to expect can help make the process easier to navigate.
Getting Used to Medication
As is the case when taking any new medication, you might experience initial symptoms or side effects.
Some people experience nausea or upset stomach while taking diabetes medications, while others notice they may start gaining more weight during the initial weeks or months of taking a new prescription.
Over time, these effects should be minimized and taper off. If they don't, it's best to talk to your doctor.
One helpful way to prepare is to educate yourself on the particular drug you're taking, by either doing some research or talking with a pharmacist when you get the prescription filled. That way, you'll know what to expect.
In general, diabetes medications are aimed at helping to balance your blood sugar.
However, this may mean you need to adjust your eating habits in order to avoid episodes of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
Some medications might also be better taken with food while others should be consumed on an empty stomach.
Your physician can best advise you on how to develop a meal schedule that works with your particular medication.
In general, however, special attention should be paid to your carbohydrate consumption when starting a new medication.
Similar to food, exercise can change your blood sugar levels.
You may need to adjust your physical activity levels in order to keep your blood sugar in a safe range - or you may need to check your blood sugar more frequently in the beginning stages of taking a medication.
Dosage and Frequency
It's not uncommon to need adjustments to the dosage or frequency of your diabetes medication. These changes will be supervised by your doctor, and may be required if your blood sugar levels are not staying in a healthy range or if you experience side effects from a particular drug.
If you take both pills and insulin, too, you and your doctor may need to experiment with different dosages until you reach the right combination.
For diabetes drugs, consistency is the key, as a regular medication schedule is the best way to ensure your blood sugar remains stable.
Photo: University of Salford Press