Diabetes insights: drugs that raise blood glucose levels

If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, you should be well-informed as to all the things in your life that could potentially affect your blood glucose levels. Being forewarned is forearmed, and this knowledge may help you avoid a serious blood sugar crisis.

You probably already know the foods and drinks that can raise your blood glucose levels, but did you know that some of the medications you may already be taking can also be a contributor?

Inform your prescriber

Keeping your doctors informed of your type 2 diabetes is of utmost importance. Whether you are being prescribed medicines from your family doctor, a nurse practitioner, an emergency department doctor or other healthcare professional, you need to let them know that you have type 2 diabetes. You should also tell them what other medicines you are currently taking, even if they were prescribed by another doctor. Ask your caregiver directly whether the new medication will cause your blood sugar to spike. If they don’t know, or if they can only offer a vague answer, use extreme caution before beginning treatment.

Always ask your pharmacist

beautiful cup of tea with sugar

There are many drugs that can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate wildly. Your pharmacist is often the best person to advise you of any potential contraindications, but doing your own reading and researching is important too, as it reinforces what you know and have been told about your disease. If you are prescribed a new medicine, do take the time to speak to your pharmacist before starting. In some cases, and especially if your family doctor is not well-versed in endocrinology, they may offer you something that is not advisable for you to take. Make sure you have all the facts before starting a new course of treatment for anything, especially if it falls outside the realm of your type 2 diabetes or related complaints.

What classes of medications cause blood sugar to spike?

Some of the most common medicines to cause a rise in blood sugar include:

Steroids/corticosteroids

Hand gift from the sea

Steroids are prescribed for many different things. If you have rheumatoid arthritis or another auto-immune disease, steroids might be part of your treatment protocol. Asthma sufferers, as well as those affected by psoriasis, severe allergies, Crohn’s disease, IBS, or other inflammatory diseases are often treated with steroids. Prednisone is a commonly prescribed steroid that can be safely taken by type 2 diabetics for very short courses of treatment, but it is not recommended for use beyond two weeks, and even then, a tapered dosage is necessary. For use beyond a two-week protocol, blood glucose intervention will likely be necessary.

Antipsychotics

Patients with diagnoses of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression, anxiety or other mental illness that may be treated by antipsychotic drugs need to be very careful about monitoring their blood glucose levels. As these medications are likely necessary to treat the underlying mental illness, it is important for your doctor to consider the risks involved and whether a different course of treatment should be explored. Even patients taking these drugs who do not suffer from type 2 diabetes may experience abnormal spikes in blood glucose, possibly because of the weight gain that often accompanies their use. Most of these patients will return to normal blood sugar levels after discontinuing treatment, but in some cases, a course of treatment for regulating blood sugar will need to continue.

Some of the specific drugs that fall into this category, and that are known to adversely affect blood glucose include:

  • Abilify
  • Clozaril
  • Zyprexa
  • Risperdal
  • Seroquel
  • Geodone

If you are taking any of these drugs, it is highly likely that your blood sugar will be tested prior to beginning your treatment, and will continue to be monitored while you are on the drug. Type 2 diabetics are especially at risk, and alternate treatments should be explored if at all possible.

sugar and blood glucose monitor

Hypertension (blood pressure) and diuretic medications

If you suffer from high blood pressure, and many type 2 diabetics do, the medication prescribed for it may be causing your blood pressure to spike. Diuretic medications such as furosemide (Lasix) or hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) are common examples of drugs that should be cause for concern. Also, be aware that some drugs may contain HCTZ as an additional ingredient – these formulations may have HCT as a suffix, such as “Diovan HCT”.

In this case, an underlying cause of raised blood glucose may be due to lowered potassium levels caused by more frequent urination, and potassium supplementation may reverse this effect (always consult your pharmacist or doctor before adding a potassium supplement). Short courses of treatment (less than two weeks) may not significantly increase your blood glucose, but regular testing should be diligently carried out to avoid hyperglycemic issues.

Heart Medicine

While not all heart medications cause changes in blood glucose, you need to watch for those that fall into the beta-blocker category. Brand names for these types of medications include Lopressor, Zebeta, Tenormin, Inderal, and Sectral. If you are taking heart medication and are unsure whether it is a beta-blocker, ask your pharmacist.

Birth Control Pills

Oral contraceptives, or birth control pills, can have the effect of mildly increasing your blood glucose levels. Though it isn’t one of the more concerning medications in terms of raising your blood sugar, you should be aware that it can happen. This would also hold true for any women who are taking hormone replacement therapy, requiring a commitment to regular blood glucose testing.

Type 2 Diabetes and The FCR

If you are a type 2 diabetic, and are concerned about any medications you are taking and how they may affect your blood sugar levels, consult your doctor and pharmacist right away.

A commitment to a healthy lifestyle is important to managing type 2 diabetes, and there are many natural supplements that can help. The FCR is a powerful combination of three organic, natural components: cordyceps, fucoidan and reishi mushroom, all known for thousands of years in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine as an aid in the regulation of blood glucose levels. They also have the added benefit of giving you more energy, stimulating your digestive system, improving mental function, and strengthening your immune system. Try FCR today – it’s an excellent natural adjunct therapy that can help you manage and conquer type 2 diabetes.

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