Potential Effects of Other Drugs

In addition to insulin and oral anti-diabetes drugs, people with diabetes commonly use a number of other medications that may impact diabetes control. Both prescription and over-the-counter drugs are used to prevent or treat complications of diabetes such as cardiovascular disease and nephropathy. For example, low dose aspirin is used to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Medications are also used to treat conditions or diseases that occur frequently in people with diabetes, including hypertension, cataracts, and infections.

Medications or substances that are known to affect blood glucose levels include:

People with diabetes also take medications for colds, depression, allergies, and other conditions that are unrelated to diabetes management. Because of the potential for drug interactions, it’s important to assess the potential consequences when a person with diabetes starts or stops taking both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Additional medications can affect blood glucose levels, complications of diabetes, and the ability to perform diabetes self-management. The drug package label or insert or product information usually provides a list of adverse effect by body system affected in the order of frequency of occurrence. Patients should be taught how to be "label readers", so they can determine whether or not a medication will interfere with diabetes management. To prevent potentially serious drug reactions, it’s essential to teach patients to inform all health care providers about their diabetes and their medications so that the potential for drug interactions is recognized and prevented.

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