Knowing Your Diabetes Medication & More | Cornerstones4Care®

Following Your Diabetes Care Plan

At times, you may find it hard to take your medicine as directed. To get the full benefits of your diabetes medicine, you need to take it exactly as directed by your health care provider. Whether you’ve been prescribed an insulin or non-insulin injectable such as a GLP-1 receptor agonist, learning how to become more at ease with your injection can help make medicine a normal part of your routine. If you’re having some trouble, try to identify the issues that could be holding you back so you can find ways to overcome them.

Tips for taking diabetes medicine

1. Know your medicines

Be sure you have all of the information you need to take your medicine properly. Here are some things you may want to know about your medicine:

  • The name of the medicine
  • The amount (dose) of medicine to take
  • When to take the medicine
  • Whether to take the medicine before you eat, while you’re eating, or after eating
  • How to store the medicine
  • What the medicine does for you
  • How to tell if the medicine is working
  • What to do if you have a side effect
  • What to do if you miss a dose
  • Make it part of a routine
  • To help become more at ease with taking injections, practice giving injections into an "injection pillow" (a soft pad used to practice injections)

2. Solve problems with your diabetes care team

Working together as a team can help. So make sure you raise issues that concern you and speak with your care team about the problems you may be facing. Together you can come up with solutions that are right for you.


3. Get the facts

Some people’s views about insulin and other diabetes medicines are based on wrong or outdated information they get from sources other than a qualified health care provider. Make sure you check with your diabetes care team about any information you come across.

Coping with treatment changes

Adding an injectable medicine can be challenging for many people. But there is support available to help you make your plan part of your daily schedule. For example, if your health care provider prescribes an injectable medicine, you can:

  1. Sign up for the Cornerstones4Care® Diabetes Health Coach to help you build a personalized diabetes care plan that fits your life. And work with your diabetes care team to make sure that each of the 4 cornerstones of care is included in your plan.
  2. Consider the first couple of weeks of taking an injectable medicine to be a “trial period.” Each person is different and can react differently to the same medicine. The same is true when you have to adjust to changes in your diabetes care plan. Be patient. It may take your body a while to adjust to new therapy before you know how well it’s working.
  3. Tell your health care provider about any problems you may have with your diabetes medicine. Your medication plan may need to change so you can meet your blood sugar goals. Your health care provider will work with you to make changes as needed.

Ideas on how to handle specific concerns

"Taking medicine is too inconvenient."
If you have to take diabetes medicine on a rigid schedule that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, and if you find you are not taking your medicine as directed because you feel it’s too big of a burden, speak with your diabetes care team about your struggles. They are there to support you and help you stay on track. Simple changes can make your diabetes care plan a better fit for your lifestyle.

"I have a hard time remembering when to take my diabetes medicine."
Speak with your health care provider about your medicine schedule. Then, you can add it to your own daily routine. Here are some things that may help you remember to take your medicine:

Take your daily medicine before or after daily activities, such as:

  • Brushing your teeth
  • Walking your dog
  • Preparing your meals
  • Feeding your pets 

Take your weekly medicine before or after weekly activities, such as:

  • Reading the Sunday newspaper
  • Doing laundry
  • Grocery shopping
  • Setting your alarm for work on Monday
  • Getting your car washed

Some other suggestions include:

  • Put your medications in a pill organizer
  • Set a reminder alarm on your clock, computer, or phone
  • Start a buddy system with a friend, family member, or loved one
  • Make a medicine chart to check “when to take it” and “when you took it”
  • Store your medicine in the same place—one that’s easy for you to get to and out of the reach of children

"I don’t like taking my medicine."
Some people may not like the idea of taking medicine. But know that keeping your blood sugar as close to your target range as possible will help reduce the risk of other health problems. When you understand the benefits of your medicine, it can be easier to accept that you need it.

"I’m afraid of side effects." 
All medicines have possible side effects and some can be serious. Not everyone will get every side effect, but it is very important to let your health care provider know how you respond to your diabetes medicine. Health care providers weigh the potential risks and benefits of any medicine before they prescribe it. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

"My medicine costs too much."
Speak with your diabetes care team if you have trouble paying for your medicine. Novo Nordisk has a Patient Assistance Program (PAP) that provides free medicine to those who qualify. To see if you qualify, call 1-866-310-7549 8 AM to 8 PM ET Monday through Friday, or visit If you are taking a Novo Nordisk product, find out if you’re eligible for a Savings Card.

"I am confused about how and when to take my medicine."
Keep a written plan handy because you need to know how and when to take your medicine and how much to take. Ask your diabetes care team to write a plan down for you. Keep your plan near your medicine. Ask your care team questions until you are clear on what you need to do and how to do it.

"I don’t think my diabetes medicine is helping me."
People with type 2 diabetes may be able to manage their diabetes for a while with meal planning, physical activity, and diabetes pills. But because type 2 diabetes changes over time, at some point you may need to take injectable medicines to manage your blood sugar.

Talk with your health care provider if you are not reaching your blood sugar goals.


NEXT: Learn how tracking your progress can help you take a more active role in your diabetes care plan.

Have you signed up for the Diabetes Health Coach?