Diabetes Treatment Options

How diabetes is managed is dependent on the type of diabetes and each individual. It is very important to regularly consult your healthcare team for regular assessment and adjustment.

For all types of diabetes, keeping blood glucose levels in a healthy range will help prevent both short-term and long-term complications.


Insulin is a hormone made by beta cells in the pancreas. When we eat, insulin is released into the blood stream where it helps to move glucose from the food we have eaten into cells to be used as energy.

In people with type 1 diabetes, the body produces little or no insulin as the cells that produce insulin have been destroyed by an autoimmune reaction in the body. Insulin replacement is required by daily injections.

In Barbados there are several types of insulin available for treating diabetes. The various types are listed below:

  • Rapid-acting
    Rapid-acting insulin covers insulin needs for meals eaten at the same time as the injection. This type of insulin is often used with longer-acting insulin.
  • Short-acting
    Short-acting insulin covers insulin needs for meals eaten within 30-60 minutes.
  • Intermediate-acting
    Intermediate-acting insulin covers insulin needs for about half the day or overnight. This type of insulin is often combined with a rapid- or short-acting type.
  • Long-acting
    Long-acting insulin covers insulin needs for about one full day. This type is often combined, when needed, with rapid- or short-acting insulin.
  • Pre-mixed
    These products are generally taken two or three times a day before mealtime.


People with type 2 diabetes are often given medications including insulin to help control their blood glucose levels. Most of these medications are in the form of tablets, but some are given by injection. Tablets or injections are intended to be used in conjunction with healthy eating and regular physical activity, not as a substitute. Diabetes tablets are not an oral form of insulin.