Medications and Blood Sugar

As prediabetics, the number we look at on a daily basis is our fasting blood sugar level.

We can do that at home with a monitor. Knowing that number, as well as the numbers pre- and post-meal, helps us to track our prediabetes. These numbers give us the information we need to not eat this or eat more of that, with the end result (we hope) of reducing our blood sugar levels.

A sneaky enemy of blood sugar levels that most of us don’t think about is medicine.

Some of the prescription or over-the-counter medications we take raise our blood sugar. This can blow a big hole in our how-to-beat-prediabetes game plan.

It’s tricky if the medication that raises our blood sugar is one we absolutely must take!

Some blood pressure medications, like beta-blockers or thiazide diuretics[i], raise our blood sugar.

Steroids in oral (pill) form can bump our blood sugar level up, but if used in the form of a cream or inhaler, they’re generally not an issue[ii].

Other drugs can also affect blood sugar levels, such as niacin, which is a B vitamin, some antipsychotic drugs, and a sprinkling of others.

Because you’re prediabetic, you should have a quick conversation with your pharmacist about any prescription or over-the-counter drugs you’re taking, to see which might have an effect on your blood sugar. Then work with your provider to decide if the trade-off is worth it.

Sometimes, medications are the reason we’re prediabetic, which puts us in a real pickle if we can’t get off the meds.

We can’t ignore anything that affects our blood sugar. If we do our homework and make changes where we can, it will help us stay on the road that leads out of prediabetes land!

[i] Diabetes Self-Management, Drugs That Can Worsen Diabetes Control, (March 7, 2019).

[ii] WedMD, What Medicines Can Make Your Blood Sugar Spike?, (March 7, 2019).