Pharmacotherapeutics: Diabetes and Drug Treatments


Diabetes refers to a category of metabolic conditions that are characterized by an increase in the level of glucose/sugar in the body. Diabetes is mainly “caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin consistently” (Laureate Education, 2012). Insulin’s main task in the body is to facilitate the movement of sugar from the blood and into the various types of cells within the human anatomy. The inconsistency in the transfer of sugar from the blood to the cells leads to an unhealthy build-up of glucose. When diabetes is not managed or treated properly, it leads to several complications in the body. Prolonged diabetic complications might lead to heart, kidney, eye, or foot damage. There are three main types of diabetes namely; type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.

Differences between types of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes and it is a result of the body’s inability to generate enough insulin. Type 1 diabetes is mostly common in children although in rare instances it also affects adults. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is a condition that results from a build-up of insulin resistance in the body (Laureate Education, 2012). Type 2 diabetes is sometimes referred to as adult-onset diabetes. Overweight and elderly individuals are at the greatest risk of being affected by type 2 diabetes. Consequently, the body requires more insulin to facilitate the transport of body sugar to the cells.

However, as times progresses, it becomes impossible for the pancreas to maintain the amplified insulin requirements and this under-production leads to type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women and its manifestation is similar to that of type 2 diabetes. The main difference between gestational and type 2 diabetes is their trigger mechanisms. Unlike type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes is triggered by an insulin resistance that results from production of hormones in pregnant women.

Treatment of type 2 diabetes

Treatment of type 2 diabetes usually involves a combination of drug administration, dietary modifications, and physical exercises (Arcangelo & Peterson, 2013). One type of drug that is commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes is Metformin. Metformin belongs to the biguanide class of diabetes medication and it acts by decreasing the levels of glucose (blood sugar) that is discharged to the bloodstream. Consequently, Metformin allows more sugar to be absorbed by body cells whilst using a lower amount of insulin. The medical community recognizes Metformin as a class-A agent in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

The preparation and administration of Metformin can be undertaken by licensed nurse practitioners. Metformin comes in tablet form and it is usually prescribed to patients whose diabetes is not controllable using lifestyle measures. For instance, practitioners use this drug to treat overweight individuals because Metformin rarely leads to additional weight-gain (, 2012). Metformin is also a drug of choice for most practitioners because it does not lead to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is common when using other types of medications to treat type 2 diabetes. Metformin is usually administered in accordance with the glucose levels in the patient’s body.

At the beginning of treatment, a nurse practitioner should administer a single tablet of the drug to a patient. Consequently, the practitioner should proceed to monitor the patient’s progress or any side effects that may result from the administration of the drug. Moreover, because “metformin’s

onset of action is delayed about four weeks, patients with substantial ketosis, ketoacidosis, or markedly elevated blood glucose levels initially should be treated with insulin” (Peterson, Silverstein, Kaufman & Warren-Boulton, 2007, p. 660). In case the patient’s glucose levels do not subside to the desired proportions, the nurse practitioner should increase the dosage or administer other glucose-lowering drugs to complement the effects of Metformin. Some of the dietary considerations that are related to the administration of Metformin include physical exercise and calorie intake. The drug is usually more efficient for people who are regularly involved in physical exercises or have a low calorie intake.

Short and Long Term effects of Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes has several long-term and short-term effects on patients. The most obvious long-term impact of type 2 diabetes is that it leads to health complications that inhibit an individual’s ability to live a wholesome life. For instance, patients with type 2 diabetes are unable to carry out certain types of work. Type 2 diabetes patients, especially the elderly ones, also require intense care that is “best provided by a team that includes the patient and family” (Peterson, Silverstein, Kaufman & Warren-Boulton, 2007, p. 660).

When a patient is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, he/she is at a higher risk of developing other illnesses such as kidney disease or eyesight problems. The short-term effects of type 2 diabetes include the patient’s inability to enjoy life to the fullest. For instance, the patient cannot enjoy certain foods or activities without being concerned about his/her blood sugar levels (Kargiotis, Paschali & Papathanasopoulos, 2010).


Diabetes is a metabolic condition that manifests itself in a number of ways. The various types of diabetes include type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Treatment of diabetes involves a combination of drug-based treatment as well as lifestyle adjustments. Diabetes’ patients endure both short-term and long-term impacts of the disease and its treatment regimen.


Arcangelo, V., & Peterson, A. (2013). Pharmacotherapeutics for advanced practice: A practical approach (3rd ed.). Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Web.

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Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). The endocrine system and diabetes. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Kargiotis, O., Paschali, A., & Papathanasopoulos, P. (2010). Quality of life in multiple sclerosis: Effects of current treatment options. International Review of Psychiatry, 22(1), 67–82.

Peterson, K., Silverstein, J., Kaufman, F., & Warren-Boulton, E. (2007). Management of type 2 diabetes in youth: An update. American Family Physician, 76(5), 658–664.