Treating type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease that needs to be managed in different ways at different stages. In its early stages, or with prediabetes, it can be controlled with a healthier diet and more exercise. But if the disease progresses, medication may be required to keep your blood glucose levels on target.

You can find information about all of these treatments here.

Type 2 diabetes treatments

  • Diet and exercise
  • Non-insulin therapy
  • Insulin

Blood glucose and insulin – what's the connection?

To understand how type 2 diabetes is treated, it's useful to understand how blood glucose and insulin work together in your body. Put simply, when your insulin levels go up, your blood glucose levels go down. Finding the right balance is the best way to stay healthy and avoid serious health complications.


Learn more about blood glucose and insulin

Non-insulin therapies

Many people with type 2 diabetes are unable to control their blood glucose levels with lifestyle changes alone. If you find it gets harder to reach your targets, your healthcare professional may recommend that you start on a non-insulin therapy.

There are many types of non-insulin therapy and they work in different ways. Some help the body use its own insulin more effectively, some reduce the amount of glucose absorbed, and some help the body produce more insulin. Most are tablets, but some are injected.

Depending on your needs, you may start on one therapy or a combination of two or more. The most common non-insulin therapies are:


  • Metformin
  • Thiazolidinediones (TZDs)
  • Sulfonylureas
  • SGLT-2 inhibitors
  • DPP-4 inhibitors (gliptins)
  • GLP-1

Insulin therapy for type 2 diabetes

Most people with type 2 diabetes will eventually need to move onto insulin therapy. This involves taking daily injections of manufactured insulin to replace the action of the insulin your body can no longer make.

There are different types of insulin therapy for different needs. Long-acting insulins are designed keep your glucose levels controlled throughout the day, while rapid-acting 'mealtime' insulins take care of the 'spike' in blood glucose when you eat. There is a range of delivery devices that make injecting quick, convenient and more comfortable than ever.


Explore insulin therapy for type 2 diabetes

Worried about starting on insulin?

Moving onto insulin therapy can seem like a big step. You may feel frustrated that your previous treatment didn't work, or worry that injections will be painful, or at least inconvenient.

The good news is that getting started on insulin can bring health and lifestyle benefits, and it's almost certainly going to be easier than you think. There is a lot to learn, but there are many resources to help you get started.

Get tips on starting insulin therapy


Guided by the people who know best

At Novo Nordisk, we consider people living with serious chronic diseases to be experts in their own right. That's why we invite them to become members of our Disease Experience Expert Panels (DEEPs). DEEP members are able to provide disease-specific insights and advice based on real-world experiences. This input guides us as we work to develop better treatments and meaningful support for people living with chronic diseases worldwide.


Join a DEEP and share your type 2 experiences

Worried about injections?

Insulin injections are normally administered using an insulin pen. There is a wide range of pens available, with different features and needles to suit individual needs. Insulin pens are designed to be ultra-discreet, easy to use, and virtually pain-free.


See our range of insulin pens and needles

Living with type 2 diabetes

Having type 2 diabetes doesn't mean you should expect less out of life. But you will need to learn how to manage your blood glucose for different situations, and for different activities, so you can stay healthy and active. We have lots of information and resources to help you get started.

Get tips for living well with type 2 diabetes

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