Author(s): Baliga BS, Fonseca VA
Diabetes mellitus needs to be managed early to prevent the onset and progression of complications. Diet and exercise may not be sufficient to achieve and maintain good glycemic control. Currently, no pharmacologic agent addresses all of the fundamental abnormalities in the pathogenesis of type II diabetes mellitus. However, the newer agents do not exacerbate the hyperinsulinemia that often occurs with type II diabetes, and they may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease that is associated with high insulin levels. Two of these agents, metformin and acarbose, have recently become available in the United States for the treatment of type II diabetes. With the availability of agents that differ in their mechanisms of action and side effect profiles, regimens can be individualized to address the variety of pathophysiologic abnormalities in type II diabetes. For this purpose, agents can be used alone or in combination.