An overview of the oral medicines used in the management of type 2 diabetes
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

An overview of the oral medicines used in the management of type 2 diabetes

Martha Stewart Senior lecturer in diabetes care, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To refresh your knowledge of the management of type 2 diabetes

  • To enhance your knowledge of the type of medicines that can be used in type 2 diabetes

  • To learn about the benefits and potential side effects of these medicines

Diabetes mellitus remains an incurable condition that is associated with serious complications such as cardiovascular and renal disease. Most people with diabetes will experience type 2 diabetes, with obesity being a major risk factor for its development. Lifestyle modifications remain central to the management of type 2 diabetes, but because of the challenges in maintaining such changes in the long term and the progressive nature of the condition, most patients also require oral medicines and, eventually, injectable medicines. Nurses have an essential role in the education, empowerment and support of patients with type 2 diabetes, and it is important that they understand the available pharmacological treatment options. This article outlines the main types of oral medicines used in type 2 diabetes, including their modes of action, advantages, cautions and side effects, as well as discussing their selection and use in clinical practice.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11804

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Stewart M (2021) An overview of the oral medicines used in the management of type 2 diabetes. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11804

Published online: 30 November 2021

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