Non-insulin treatment

Medicines in tablet and pill form are sometimes used to manage blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. They can:

  • Help the pancreas release more insulin
  • Slow the rate of sugar release into the blood after eating food
  • Make the body more sensitive to insulin
  • Decrease the amount of stored glucose released from the liver

There are also a number of non-insulin hormones that are used to treat type 2 diabetes.

These medicines:

  • Tell the pancreas to send more insulin when blood sugar levels are high
  • Decrease the amount of sugar the liver makes after you eat
  • Make you feel full, which can decrease portion sizes and speed up weight loss
  • Learn More about Non-Insulin Treatments

Want to learn more about your oral medicine?

Drug Class

How it Works


Important Facts


Increases beta cell insulin production

Tolbutamide, Gliquidone, Gliclazide

Known for over 50 years; only for those with some functioning beta cells

Alpha glucosidase inhibitors

Delays absorption of carbohydrate into bloodstream


Side effects mean often used as ‘last resort’ drug


Increases insulin sensitivity in liver, so reducing glucose production, release


Often used as initial treatment in type 2 diabetes


Reduce insulin resistance

Rosiglitazone, pioglitazone

May cause weight gain; often used instead of metformin


Similar to sulphonylureas

Repaglinide, nateglinide

Recently introduced, suitable for the elderly