Type 1 diabetes medications

Insulin therapy is the cornerstone of treatment for people with type 1 diabetes. However, in some cases, treatment may also include a non-insulin injectable such as pramlinitide.


Insulin is necessary for people with type 1 diabetes. Insulin is injected into fat under the skin through a syringe, pump or infuser. Depending on the type of insulin, you may need to inject it several times a day. Insulin may come premixed and include slow- and fast-acting types.  Insulin differs in how fast it works, how long it lasts, and when it peaks in effectiveness. Doses also vary.

Injected non-insulin medications

Your doctor may prescribe this type of medication if you use insulin but can’t reach target blood sugar levels. This type is typically injected at mealtime. One helps slow the movement of food through your stomach. It also tells the liver not to release stored sugar.

Inhaled insulin

An inhaled insulin has recently become available. It's a dry powder that's administered with a small, easily portable inhaler. This rapid-acting insulin is a treatment option for those needing insulin at meal time. The inhaled insulin is used in combination with regular insulin for people with type 1 diabetes, but may not be for all.

As with all drugs, these medications can have side effects. Be sure to discuss them with your doctor.

Talk to your doctor

It may take a few tries, but with so many options, your doctor should be able to find a medication plan that works for you and fits your lifestyle. It’s important to discuss your options with your doctor. Be sure to share any questions or concerns. Here are some things to consider if you’re starting a new medicine:

  • How often and when will I need to take my medicine?
  • What do I do if I forget to take my medicine?
  • What are the side effects?
  • What should I do if I have side effects?
  • Will this drug interact with other drugs I’m taking?

A note about pregnancy

If you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant, check with your doctor. Pre-pregnancy planning is important to reduce risk of serious complications. Recommendations by your doctor may include lifestyle changes and medications. Your doctor will take into consideration if you have type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes.