New Treatment Options for Diabetes

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There are a variety of new medications that have been developed for the treatment and management of diabetes, conditions where too much sugar ends up in the blood. With type 1 diabetes, the body makes very little or no insulin, a hormone that helps process blood sugar so it can be used for energy. In type 2 diabetes, the body doesn't use insulin properly.

These medications aim to help control blood sugar, or glucose, levels in the body. Medication options may include synthetic insulin, oral drugs taken by mouth, and injectables, which are administered with a needle.

New Medicines for Treating Diabetes.

Verywell / Jessica Olah

This article covers the newest medications for diabetes. It also explains recommended dosage and potential side effects.

New Oral Diabetes Medications

There are a variety of oral medications that are used to treat type 2 diabetes.

Steglatro (Ertugliflozin)

Steglatro (ertugliflozin) was approved in 2017. This drug is prescribed, in addition to diet and exercise, to improve the blood sugar levels of adults living with type 2 diabetes. It is not recommended for individuals with type 1 diabetes.

With this medicine:

  • The recommended dose is 5 mg once every day. This is can be taken with or without food in the morning.
  • Dosage may be increased to 15 mg once daily if additional glycemic control is needed. Glycemic control describes maintaining good blood sugar levels.

Glyxambi (Empagliflozin and Linagliptin)

Glyxambi (empagliflozin and linagliptin) was approved in 2015. This drug is used along with exercise and diet to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

Keep in mind:

  • The recommended dose is 10 mg empagliflozin/5 mg linagliptin once in the morning.
  • Dosage may then be increased to 25 mg empagliflozin/5 mg linagliptin once daily.

Steglujan (Ertugliflozin and Sitagliptin)

Steglujan (ertugliflozin and sitagliptin) was approved in 2017. It is used along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.

With this medication:

  • The recommended starting dose is 5 mg ertugliflozin/100 mg sitagliptin once daily.
  • This dose can be increased to 15 mg ertugliflozin/100 mg sitagliptin once daily for those who tolerate the drug and need more glycemic control.

Xigduo XR (Dapagliflozin and Metformin HCI Extended-Release)

Xigduo XR (dapagliflozin and metformin HCI extended-release) was approved in 2014. This drug contains both dapagliflozin and metformin and is prescribed to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

It is not recommended for those with type 1 diabetes. This medication has a warning for lactic acidosis, a medical emergency that occurs when too much acid builds up in the blood. Dosage varies based on an individual's current treatment.

Recall of Metformin Extended-Release

In May 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that some makers of metformin extended-release voluntarily remove their products from the market due to high levels of an unsafe ingredient. If you currently take this medication, do not stop doing so, but be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.

Synjardy (Empagliflozin and Metformin Hydrochloride)

Synjardy (empagliflozin and metformin hydrochloride) was approved in 2015. This drug is used to improve blood sugar levels, along with diet and exercise, in adults with type 2 diabetes. It is taken twice daily with food. This medication has a warning for lactic acidosis.

Segluromet (Ertugliflozin and Metformin Hydrochloride)

Segluromet (ertugliflozin and metformin hydrochloride) was approved in 2017. It is used along with exercise and diet to improve the glycemic control of adults with type 2 diabetes. It may be recommended for individuals who have not seen better glycemic control with other medications. It is taken twice daily with food. This medication has a warning for lactic acidosis.

Lactic Acidosis Warning

Lactic acidosis is a medical emergency. Keep in mind that the following medicines carry a warning for lactic acidosis:

  • Xigduo XR (dapagliflozin and metformin HCI extended-release)
  • Synjardy (empagliflozin and metformin hydrochloride)
  • Segluromet (ertugliflozin and metformin hydrochloride)


Kerendia (Finerenone)

Kerendia (finerenone) was approved in July 2021. It is used to treat the loss of kidney function, or chronic kidney disease, in adults with type 2 diabetes. It also aims to reduce the risk of kidney failure, heart attack, and death due to heart conditions.

Keep in mind:

  • There are two recommended dosages that are taken once daily, 10 mg at first or 20 mg after four weeks if needed.
  • Side effects may include low blood pressure and low sodium levels. Another side effect is high levels of a chemical in the body called potassium, which can lead to severe symptoms.

Recap

There are a variety of new oral medications that are FDA approved to treat type 2 diabetes. Be mindful of side effects, as well as warnings associated with each medication.

New Insulin Options

Insulin is a medication that helps treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It helps stabilize blood sugar levels by moving blood sugar into the tissues where it can be used for energy. It may also block the body from making more sugar.

Each medication will vary in terms of how long it stays in the body and how quickly it begins working. Insulin may be inhaled or injected into the skin with a syringe or pen.

Afrezza (Inhaled Insulin)

Afrezza (inhaled insulin) was approved for use in 2014 to help manage high blood sugar levels in adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It is a fast-acting medication that is breathed in through the lungs.

Keep in mind:

  • In individuals with type 1 diabetes, this medication should be used in addition to long-lasting insulin.
  • It should not be used by anyone who has a lung condition.
  • Common side effects include low blood sugar, a cough, and a sore throat.
  • Dosage will be determined by your healthcare provider.

Semglee (Insulin Glargine-Yfgn)

Semglee (insulin glargine-yfgn) was approved in 2020 and is injected using a pre-filled pen. It is a synthetic, long-lasting insulin medication used to help manage high blood sugar in adults and pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes, as well as adults with type 2 diabetes. Dosage will vary depending on the individual.

This medication:

Tresiba (Insulin Degludec Injection)

Tresiba (insulin degludec injection) was approved in 2015. It is a long-acting injectable insulin that is used to improve glycemic control in adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It is not recommended for the treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis.

Dosage varies based on:

  • Type of diabetes
  • Blood glucose monitoring results
  • Metabolic needs, or how the body uses food for energy
  • Goals for glycemic control

Xultophy (Insulin Degludec and Liraglutide Injection)

Xultophy (insulin degludec and liraglutide injection) was approved in 2016. It is an injectable long-acting insulin. Along with diet and exercise, it is used to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

Xultophy is not recommended as the first choice of medication for those who don't see blood sugar control improvement with diet and exercise.

Warning: Risk of Thyroid Tumors

Animal studies show that liraglutide, an ingredient in Xultophy, causes thyroid C-cell tumors, which are abnormal tissue growths on the thyroid gland. It is not known whether Xultophy causes thyroid C-cell tumors in humans.

Toujeo (Insuline Glargine Injection)

Toujeo (insulin glargine injection) was approved in 2015 and is an injectable long-acting insulin. It is used for adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes to improve glycemic control. It is administered once daily, at the same time every day.

Dosage varies based on:

  • Type of diabetes
  • Blood sugar monitoring results
  • Metabolic needs
  • Goals for glycemic control

Recap

Insulin medications may be used to help stabilize blood sugar levels in those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Insulin medications may be inhaled or injected into the skin.

New Injectable Options for Diabetes 

Injectable options are administered under the skin and treat individuals with type 2 diabetes.

BYDUREON BCise (Exenatide Extended-Release)

BYDUREON BCise (exenatide extended-release) was approved in 2005. It is an injection for adults with type 2 diabetes and is used along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar levels.

This medication:

  • Is not recommended as the first line of treatment for individuals who don't see blood sugar control improvement with diet and exercise
  • Should not be used to treat diabetic ketoacidosis or type 1 diabetes
  • Has a dosage of 2 mg once every seven days
  • Can be administered with or without meals
  • May include side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, stomachache, headache, and vomiting

Warning: Risk of Thyroid Tumors

In animal studies, this medication led to thyroid C-cell tumors. It is not known whether it can cause this same effect in humans.

Soliqua (Insulin Glargine and Lixisenatide Injection)

Soliqua (insulin glargine and lixisenatide injection) was approved for use in 2016. It is an injection that contains a combination of a long-acting insulin and a glucagon-like peptide, which is a hormone that triggers insulin release. This medication is used along with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It is not recommended for those with gastroparesis, a condition where the stomach cannot empty itself properly.

Ozempic (Semaglutide)

Ozempic (semaglutide) was approved in 2017. It is a glucagon-like peptide injection used along with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It is not recommended as the first option for treatment for patients who have not seen improvement in glycemic control with diet and exercise.

Warning: Risk of Thyroid Tumors

Semaglutide causes thyroid C-cell tumors in animals. It is not known whether Ozempic causes thyroid C-cell tumors in humans.

Mounjaro (Tirzepatide)

Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is the first and only GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonist FDA-approved for use in addition to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

Mounjaro is available in six doses (2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg) as a once-weekly injection to be used any time of day, with or without meals. It comes in an auto-injector pen with a pre-attached, hidden needle that doesn't need to be handled or seen.

Warning: Risk of Thyroid Tumors

Mounjaro may cause tumors in the thyroid, including thyroid cancer. Do not use Mounjaro if you or any of your family have ever had a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC).

Do not use Mounjaro if you have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).

Adlyxin (Lixisenatide)

Adlyxin (lixisenatide) was approved in 2016. It is a glucagon-like peptide and is prescribed along with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

It is an injection that is administered once a day an hour before the first meal. It can be injected into the stomach, thigh, or upper arm. The initial dosage is 10 mcg once a day for 14 days; at day 15, the dosage increases to 20 mcg daily.

Recap

Injectable options treat those with type 2 diabetes. Side effects can range from mild to severe.

Summary

There are many new medication options for individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. New treatment options include medications taken by mouth, synthetic insulins, as well as injectables. Keep in mind that certain medications may lead to side effects in some individuals.

A Word From Verywell

It can be confusing to know which medication is the right one for you. If you think you may want to switch medications to manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes, speak with your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best type 2 diabetes medication?

    What is considered the best may differ from person to person. When reviewing which medication is the best option for you, you may want to think about cost, side effects, and how the medication is administered.

  • What is the safest diabetes medication?

    A combination metformin medication is considered safe and seems to cause minimal side effects in most people. Keep in mind that only the extended-release version of metformin was recalled by the FDA.

  • Is there something else I can use other than metformin?

    Oral medications that don't contain metformin include Steglatro (ertuglifozin), Glyxambi (empaglifozin and linagliptin), Kerendia (finerenone), and Steglujan (ertugliflozin and sitagliptin). If you would like to switch medications, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.

20 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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