Medication for Type 2 Diabetes in Children

NYU Langone doctors may prescribe medication for children with type 2 diabetes to control blood sugar. Adhering to a healthy diet and exercise routine can make medication more effective.

Oral Medication

Metformin is a medication that lowers blood sugar levels and decreases the need for insulin. Metformin, which is taken daily by mouth, slows the liver’s production of glucose when your child hasn’t eaten and improves the absorption of glucose in muscles and in the intestines.

Depending on the severity of your child’s condition, doctors may prescribe metformin as a single therapy or in combination with insulin. It may take up to several weeks for the medication to have an effect, so it’s important to keep blood sugar under control with a healthy diet and exercise.

Metformin may initially have gastrointestinal side effects, such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. These often subside after your child has been taking the medication for a while.

Insulin Injections

Doctors may recommend insulin for children and adolescents who have type 2 diabetes that isn’t controlled well with metformin and lifestyle changes. Our doctors may also prescribe insulin injections for those with very high blood sugar. This medication lowers blood sugar levels rapidly.

Injected under the skin, insulin is available in long-acting and rapid-acting forms. Long-acting insulin, which helps control blood sugar for a full day, should be injected daily at night. Short-acting insulin, which controls blood sugar for two to three hours, can be injected before meals if long-acting insulin isn’t effective.

These injections are simple to perform. Our nurses can teach you and your child how to give insulin injections at home.

Your child may need to test his or her blood sugar levels one or more times each day to ensure that he or she is receiving the correct dosage of insulin. If the blood sugar level remains high, the doctor may recommend increasing the frequency of insulin shots during the day.

The doctor can prescribe a portable electronic device that measures sugar levels in a small drop of blood, which you get by pricking the finger with a small, sharp needle called a lancet. Our nurse practitioners demonstrate how to use these devices and can recommend where to buy them.

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