Consumer Guides on Oral Diabetes Medications

A pair of plain-language guides that outline the latest scientific evidence on the effectiveness and safety of oral medications for adults with type 2 diabetes are now available from HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality ( AHRQ ) .

AHRQ’s analysis is the first to summarize evidence on the effectiveness and adverse events for all commonly used type 2 diabetes medications. As new classes of oral diabetes medications have become available, patients and clinicians have faced a growing list of treatment options and choices. The guides for consumers and clinicians are tools to help patients, their families, and health care providers make informed decisions about treating a condition that affects more than 15 million Americans.

The consumer-targeted guide, called Pills for Type 2 Diabetes: A Guide for Adults (, includes information on:

  • Types of diabetes pills commonly available for adults
  • How well they work
  • Possible side effects
  • Medication costs

The clinician’s guide, called Comparing Oral Medications for Adults With Type 2 Diabetes ( ), includes more detail on those topics and “confidence ratings” for evidence to support research conclusions.

Type 2 diabetes is an increasingly common chronic disease that occurs in people who have too much glucose in their blood either because their cells are resistant to insulin (a hormone that helps convert glucose into energy) or because their pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Excessive glucose levels can cause severe problems with the heart, eyes, kidneys and nerves. Obesity increases the risk of developing diabetes.

The diabetes guides are part of a series of informational products created by the Agency’s Effective Health Care program. Online and audio versions are available at Free print versions can also be ordered.