List of Medications for Diabetes

Based on "Harrison's Endocrinology"
written by J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD

This comprehensive listing includes antihyperglycemic agents that can be used for glycemic control in diabetes.

New Antihyperglycemics

Class Generic/Brand/Approval year
SGLT-2 inhibitor Canagliflozin (Invokana), 2013
DPP-4 inhibitor Alogliptin (Nesina, Vipidia), 2013
SGLT-2 inhibitor Dapagliflozin (Farxiga), 2014
SGLT-2 inhibitor Empagliflozin (Jardiance), 2014
GLP-1 receptor agonist Albiglutide (Tanzeum), 2014
GLP-1 receptor agonist Dulaglutide (Trulicity), 2014
Inhaled insulin powder Afrezza, 2014


Insulin Preparations

Insulin preparations differ in how quickly they work, when they peak maximal activity, and how long they work. Insulins are available for intravenous, intramuscular, and subcutaneous administration.

Generic Brand Name
Rapid Acting Insulins
Insulin aspart Novolog
Insulin glulisine Apidra
Insulin lispro Humalog
Insulin human Afrezza Inhalation Powder
Short Acting Insulins
Regular insulin Humulin R, Novolin R
Intermediate Acting Insulins
Insulin NPH Hagedorn NPH , Humulin N, Novolin N
Long Acting Insulins
Insulin detemir Levemir
Insulin glargine Lantus
Premixed Insulins
Insulin aspart protamine/
insulin aspart
NovoLog 50/50, NovoLog 70/30
Insulin lispro protamine/
insulin lispro
Humalog 50/50, Humalog 75/25
Combination with Insulins
Insulin glargine /Lixisenatide Soliqua 100/33
Insulin degludec/Liraglutide Xultophy 100/3.6


Sensitizers increase the sensitivity of target organs to insulin.


Biguanides improve peripheral glucose uptake and utilization.

Generic Brand Name
Metformin Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glumetza, Riomet, Fortamet

Phenformin and Buformin were withdrawn due to lactic acidosis risk.

Thiazolidinediones (Glitazones)

Thiazolidinediones work through the improvement of insulin sensitivity by acting on adipose, muscle, and liver to increase glucose utilization and decrease glucose production.

Generic Brand Name
Rosiglitazone Avandia
Pioglitazone Actos


Secretagogues increase insulin secretion by the pancreas.


Sulfonylureas stimulate insulin secretion by inhibiting the K(ATP) channel complex of the pancreatic beta cells. Sulfonylureas are used to treat type II diabetes. These agents are not indicated for type I diabetes.

Generic Brand Name
Acetohexamide Dymelor
Chlorpropamide Diabinese
Tolazamide Tolinase
Tolbutamide Orinase
Glipizide Glucotrol, Minidiab, Glibenese
Glyburide (glibenclamide) Diabeta, Micronase, Glynase, Daonil, Euglycon
Glimepiride Amaryl
Gliclazide Uni Diamicron
Glyclopyramide Deamelin-S
Gliquidone Glurenorm


Meglitinide derivatives stimulate insulin secretion from pancreatic cells, lowering blood glucose levels.

Generic Brand Name
Nateglinide Starlix
Repaglinide Prandin, NovoNorm

Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors are not technically glucose lowering agents because they do not have a direct effect on insulin secretion or sensitivity. These medications slow the digestive and absorptive process, preventing postprandial glucose raise.

Generic Brand Name
Acarbose Precose, Glucobay
Miglitol Glyset
Voglibose Basen

Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 (GLP-1) Agonists

GLP-1 analogs normalize fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels without causing hypoglycemia 3. Also, GLP-1 analogs reduce food intake and promote modest weight loss.

Generic Brand Name
Short-acting GLP-1 analogs
Exenatide Byetta
Lixisenatide Lyxumia, Adlyxin
Long-acting GLP-1 analogs
Liraglutide Victoza
Prolonged-acting GLP-1 analogs
Albiglutide Tanzeum
Dulaglutide Trulicity
Exenatide once weekly Bydureon
Under development
Taspoglutide Phase III clinical trials 4

Dipeptidyl Peptidase-4 Inhibitors (Gliptins)

Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors inhibit DPP-4, the enzyme that inactivates incretin hormones GLP-1 and GIP.

Generic Brand Name
Alogliptin Nesina, Vipidia
Anagliptin Suiny
Linagliptin Trajenta
Saxagliptin Onglyza
Sitagliptin Januvia
Teneligliptin Tenelia
DPP-4 inhibitors under development
Dutogliptin 5  
Gemigliptin 6  

Amylin Analogues

Pramlintide is a synthetic form of amylin, a pancreatic peptide produced by β-cells. Amylin and pramlintide lower postprandial glucose by lowering postprandial glucagon and delaying gastric emptying. Pramlintide is indicated for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics who use insulin.

Generic Brand Name
Pramlintide Symlin

Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors

SGLT-2 inhibitors are a new class of drugs for Type 2 diabetes with novel mechanism of action. SGLT-2 inhibitors block reabsorption of glucose in the kidneys, leading to excretion of glucose in urine. These glucose lowering medications work independently of insulin.

Generic Brand Name
Canagliflozin Invokana
Dapagliflozin Forxiga, Farxiga
Empagliflozin Jardiance
Ertugliflozin Steglatro
SGLT-2 inhibitors under development
Remogliflozin etabonate  

Other Anti-diabetic Drugs

Generic Brand Name
Dopamine agonist
Bromocriptine Parlodel, Cycloset
Bile acid sequestrant
Colesevelam Welchol, Cholestagel, Lodalis



Generic Brand Name
Alogliptin + Metformin Kazano
Dapagliflozin + Metformin Xigduo XR
Glipizide + Metformin Metaglip
Glyburide + Metformin Glucovance
Linagliptin + Metformin Jentadueto
Pioglitazone + Metformin Actoplus Met, Actoplus Met XR
Repaglinide + Metformin Prandimet
Rosiglitazone + Metformin Avandamet
Saxagliptin + Metformin Kombiglyze XR
Sitagliptin + Metformin Janumet
Rosiglitazone + Glimepiride Avandaryl
Pioglitazone + Glimepiride Duetact
Alogliptin + Pioglitazone Oseni
Simvastatin + Sitagliptin Juvisync
Empagliflozin + Metformin Synjardy
Dapagliflozin + Saxagliptin Qtern


  • 1. New FDA Approved Drugs CenterWatch
  • 2. David A. Williams. Foye's Medicinal Chemistry. 7th Ed; LWW, 2012
  • 3. Cho YM, Wideman RD, Kieffer TJ. Clinical application of glucagon-like Peptide 1 receptor agonists for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Endocrinol Metab (Seoul). 2013 Dec;28(4):262-74. Full text
  • 4. Rosenstock J, Balas B, Charbonnel B, Bolli GB, Boldrin M, Ratner R, Balena R; T-emerge 2 Study Group. The fate of taspoglutide, a weekly GLP-1 receptor agonist, versus twice-daily exenatide for type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2013 Mar. PubMed
  • 5. Pattzi HM, Pitale S, Alpizar M, Bennett C, O'Farrell AM, Li J, Cherrington JM, Guler HP; PHX1149-PROT202 Study Group. Dutogliptin, a selective DPP4 inhibitor, improves glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes: a 12-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2010 Apr;12(4):348-55. PubMed
  • 6. Kim SH, Lee SH, Yim HJ. Gemigliptin, a novel dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitor: first new anti-diabetic drug in the history of Korean pharmaceutical industry. Arch Pharm Res. 2013 Oct;36(10):1185-8. PubMed

Created: December 27, 2014
Last updated: August 14, 2018


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