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Medicine check-ups for older adults

Diabetes medicines

Diabetes is managed through diet, exercise, and medicine to keep blood sugar levels within a certain range. As you get older, your blood sugar levels will have different target ranges.

Insulin is a common medicine to control blood sugar levels. Other medicines that control blood sugar levels include:

  • metformin (Glucophage)
  • glyburide
  • gliclazide (Diamicron)
  • sitagliptin (Januvia)


Diabetes medicines help prevent blood sugar levels from getting too high. When your blood sugar level gets very high, it can make you thirsty, need to pee (urinate) more often, feel very tired (fatigue), or get more infections.

Your healthcare provider or diabetes educator will let you know your blood sugar target range.


Some medicines prescribed to manage diabetes may cause a low blood sugar level. As you age, there are more risks linked to a low blood sugar level. These include:

  • falling
  • confusion
  • weakness
  • fainting (loss of consciousness)
  • having a seizure
  • mood changes, such as feeling sad or angry
  • being more dependent on others
  • getting into a motor vehicle accident (if you drive)

Do you need a medicine check-up?

It’s important to regularly talk to your healthcare provider and pharmacist about your medicines. Ask if you still need to take all of your medicines or if you can take a lower dose.

Diabetes medicines often need to be changed or lowered as you get older. It’s also important to know that some medicines for other conditions can raise blood sugar levels.

More information

For more information about diabetes medicines, search the name of the medicine in the medication database.

Current as of: March 5, 2020

Author: Seniors Health Strategic Clinical Network