Best Medicine for Type 2 Diabetes

Dr Kathryn Basford

Medically reviewed by

Dr Kathryn Basford

Last reviewed: 11 Apr 2019

A list of common type 2 diabetes medications

Man checking if he's using the best type 2 diabetes medication for him

Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes the sugar levels in the blood to become too high. It’s a lifelong condition, but it can be managed through healthy eating, regular exercise, and in some cases, medication and insulin therapy.

Deciding which medication is best depends on your personal situation. There are a number of different treatments for type 2 diabetes and choosing the right medication will be based on your individual needs, as well as any pre-existing health conditions. If you’d like to know whether you might need medication or not, you can order a diabetes test kit from Zava.

What medications are available for type 2 diabetes?

There are several types of medication available for type 2 diabetes:

  • Metformin: this treatment is offered at Zava and is the most common medication used by people with type 2 diabetes
  • Sulphonylureas: this type of medication helps the pancreas work more effectively by encouraging it to produce more insulin
  • Prandial glucose regulators: similar to sulphonylureas, these work by getting the pancreas to make more insulin
  • Thiazolidinediones (glitazones) – this medication help reduce ‘insulin resistance’ making it easier for your cells to take up sugar from your blood
  • Incretin mimetics – this medication works by increasing hormones called incretins, which help lower blood sugar levels
  • DPP-4 inhibitors (gliptins) – this type of medication helps reduce blood sugar levels by blocking another chemical that reduces incretin levels
  • SGLT2 inhibitors – this medication works by reducing the amount of glucose absorbed by your kidneys and your blood

Most effective type 2 diabetes medications

It’s difficult to compare different type 2 diabetes medications because they do different things in the body, and the effects they have can vary from person to person.

The main aim of diabetes medication is to make sure that your blood sugar levels are kept with a safe and healthy range. All the medications available for treating type 2 diabetes can help to make this happen. The difference is in how they do it, how safe they are, and how likely they are to work for most people.

Metformin is a safe and effective way to help people control their blood sugar. It doesn’t necessarily have the biggest impact, but it works for many people and it’s safe. If Metformin isn’t effective for you then your doctor might suggest that you try another type 2 diabetes medication.

A doctor will be able to tell which medication will be the most effective and safe option for you. If you want advice on which treatment is the best for you, make an appointment with your GP and talk it through with them.

What’s the best medication to start with?

‘No medication’ is usually the first treatment option. When diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, healthy eating, weight loss, and exercise are the first line of action. Most people don’t need to inject themselves with insulin and some don’t need medication at all.

But, if diet control and exercise don’t help control your diabetes, Metformin is usually the first medication prescribed. We offer repeat orders of this treatment at Zava and it’s the most common medication given for Type 2 diabetes.

What are the most popular type 2 diabetes medications?

People react differently to different medications so even if a medication is popular, you could still have problems with it. Metformin is the most commonly prescribed medication because it’s relatively safe and there’s a lot of research on its positive effects on haemoglobin, body weight, and the heart. Many people who use Metformin only need this medication (along with healthy eating and exercise) to control their diabetes.

Still, for some people Metformin may cause side effects that they can’t put up with, or Metformin treatment won’t be enough to control their blood sugar. In these situations, alternatives treatments can be more tolerable and more effective too. You can see non-medical reviews of Metformin at

You can also compare Metformin reviews with reviews of other medications for type 2 diabetes. But, remember that user reviews won’t tell you what is right for you and your doctor will be able to help you find the right medication for you by trialing the most appropriate medications with you.

I want to change to a better medication, what should I do?

If you’re not sure that your medication is working properly then you should get in touch with your GP. They can let you know if your medication is controlling your blood sugar levels and they can check them for you if you’re concerned.

If you’ve had side effects and you’d like to change medication to avoid them, you should speak to your GP first. Don’t stop using your treatment unless you’ve spoken to a healthcare professional.

At Zava, we can’t help you switch medication because we only offer Metformin and we can only provide repeat orders to people who are already using Metformin and are happy with their treatment.

How do I find the best medication for me?

There are a few different medications available to help control Type 2 diabetes, which all work in slightly different ways. Not all treatments are right for everyone and sometimes it can take a trial and error approach to find the medication that suits you best.

It’s important that if you feel you’d like to start treatment, you want to try a different medication, or you want to stop your medication, you should speak with a healthcare professional first. They’ll help you figure out if medication is right for you, and which one you can start using.

Medically reviewed by:
Dr Kathryn Basford

Dr Kathryn Basford is a qualified GP who works as a GP in London, as well as with Zava. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training through Whipps Cross Hospital in London.

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Last reviewed: 11 Apr 2019

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