Community Views: Advice About Starting a New Diabetes Drug
Treating type 2 diabetes (T2D) can feel overwhelming given how many different combinations of treatments and drugs are available. It is common to feel like it is a lot to learn. That is especially true if you are at the beginning of figuring out which T2D drugs are right for you.
To find the best tips from the community, we reached out on the Type2Diabetes.com Facebook page and asked: "What would you tell someone worried about starting their first diabetes medication?"
Nearly 400 community members shared their thoughts! Here is some of what they said.
Try different medicines and dosages
Rare is the person with T2D who finds the right drug and dosage on the first try. Rather, it might take a few different prescriptions to find the best fit. Keep in mind that each prescription may require you to be on it for a few weeks or months to know if it is a match. It can help to ask your doctor exactly how long you have to be on a drug before knowing if it is a good fit for you.
"I could not tolerate my meds at 2000 milligrams. It made me feel sick. We tried different things and found 1500 before bed works right for me."
"Do not be afraid to speak up. If you think you are not tolerating a med, there are several to choose from."
"If it makes you sick, give it a little time. If it still does not work, ask for something different."
"Keep a journal of how it impacts you. Keep a food journal to measure the impacts. Treat it like a job and keep at it every day."
"It requires patience. Lots of patience. Meds are trial-and-error to get it right."
Plan when you will take your dose
Several community members shared that they have found that timing matters. Many preferred taking their drugs at bedtime because if you do have any side effects, you will notice them less, if at all. Contributors also suggested that if you are about to go on a new drug, start it on a weekend in case you need extra time to rest and take it easy.
"Take it at bedtime so that the side effects are not as bothersome."
"I always start new meds on the weekend. Sometimes the adjustment is better tolerated when you have a few days to be chill at home. I never start new meds on a workday."
Find support and education
Many folks do not always realize that hospitals offer a variety of education classes on diabetes, either for free or at a discount if a patient is referred by their doctor. In these group classes, topics include medicine, diet, and self-monitoring. Several people in the community also mentioned visiting nutritionists and diabetes specialists to get further support and education.
"Get sessions with a diabetes educator to learn how your body will react to different things. You need the one-on-one or small group in order to have the ability to ask questions."
"Do not be afraid to ask for a diabetic specialist and nutritionist."
"I took 2 classes, offered through the local hospital, on diabetic diet."
Go in with a healthy attitude
The more positivity and acceptance you can bring, the better the journey. A few folks shared that it helps to keep in mind that physical side effects are common, almost expected, and certainly not the exception. Keeping that in mind, along with the fact that you are doing this as an investment in your overall health, can make it easier to stay the course.
"Go with courage and resolve that your medication will lead you in the direction of healthy living."
"Accept that there might be some physical setbacks."
"Yes, the meds may cause some temporary tummy issues, etc. But, know these will pass and propel you into a stronger state."
The process might be frustrating and it might take longer than you anticipate. From the beginning, it can help to not only listen to your body and rest as much as you need but to also get outside, go for walks and take downtime along the way. Diabetes is a part of life—it is not your whole life.
"Take time for you. Do not let the medicine, tests, and schedule overtake your life. Drink plenty of water, get lots of sunshine, take great care of your feet, and listen."
Thank you to everyone who shared their experience and wisdom. Finding the right drug for your T2D can be tough. We hope you feel supported and encouraged to keep at it and find the right medicine for you.
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