Getting the right medicine for you

Diabetes medicines help lower the amount of sugar in your blood so it’s important to take them as prescribed.

There are many types of medicine for type 2 diabetes. It can take time to find a medicine and dose that's right for you.

You'll usually be offered a medicine called metformin first. If your blood sugar levels aren't lower within 3 months, you may need another medicine.

Over time, you may need a combination of medicines. Your pharmacist, doctor or diabetes nurse will recommend the medicines most suitable for you.

What your pharmacist can do for you

When you book a free new medicine review appointment with your pharmacist they will help you understand more about your medication and how best to take it, alongside any other medication you may be taking. It’s also an opportunity to discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing.

Will I need to take insulin?

Insulin is one of the medication options. Your doctor or diabetes nurse will explain if you need to take it and why. If you need to inject insulin, they'll show you how.

Will I need to test my blood glucose? No. Your health care team will advise if this is necessary for you and your medication.

Taking your medicine

Your doctor or diabetes nurse will explain how to take your medicine and how to store it. If you have any questions about your medications or think you are experiencing side effects it’s best to book a free new medicaton review with your pharmacist. Lifestyle changes can reduce the need to take your medications.

How to get free prescriptions for diabetes medication

You're entitled to free prescriptions for your diabetes medication.

To claim your free prescriptions, you'll need to apply for an exemption certificate. To do this:

  • fill in a form at your GP surgery
  • you should get the certificate in the post about a week later – it will last for 5 years
  • take it to your pharmacy with your prescriptions

Save your receipts if you have to pay for diabetes medication before you receive your exemption certificate. You can claim the money back.

For short term health conditions – such as colds or indigestion – you will still need to buy these yourself over the counter.