Diabetics BewareCredit: google images


     Everyone, including diabetics, should understand that some over-the-counter medications interact negatively, with prescribed medications.  It is important to discuss, with your family physician, the potential danger of any over-the-counter medications that you take or plan to take.

     When you look at pharmacy shelves and see the thousands of medications available, it is hard not to look at them as benign.  Many are far from it.

     Over-the-counter medications contain both active, and inactive, ingredients.  The active ingredients are those that will supposedly be of benefit to you.  The inactive ones are the 'fillers', the things that add color, desirable taste, and act as simple carriers for the active ingredients.  When reading labels - as everyone should - consider both of these ingredients.  If you have allergies, the colors may be your enemies, as may the carriers.  The inactive ingredients, that diabetics should watch for, are alcohol and sugar.  Now, let's look at some specific medications.

Diabetics taking allergy medications, should avoid those with color, all color, but especially red 40 and yellow 5, and 6.  They should also avoid allergy medications that cause drowsiness, and of course those that contain sugar.

Diabetics who use antacids should again be watching for color and sugar.  Fortunately, there are plenty of antacids on the market, that diabetics can safely consume.  Your pharmacist will gladly point these out.

Decongestants can be dangerous for diabetics as the ingredients - in both oral mediations and nasal sprays - can decrease the effectiveness of diabetic medications.  These ingredients may not only cause a rise in the level of blood sugar, but may also increase blood pressure.

Fever lowering medications, as well as pain medications present a serious problem for diabetics who also suffer from kidney problems.  Diabetics should consult their physician before taking any medications for fever.  Ibuprofen is one of the most common non-steroidal over-the-counter medications.  When taken along with diabetic medications, ibuprofen can increase the risk of hypoglycemia.

There are many, sugar-free, cough candies, or lozenges, available for diabetics, but again, watch for color if you have allergies .  If need be, ask your pharmacist.

The foregoing is also generally true of cough suppressants, but, with suppressants, you must not only for color and sugar, but also for alcohol.  Remember, if you are diabetic, alcohol is not your friend.

Everyone should use caution when taking any medications.  All medications have potential side effects, as well as potentially dangerous interactions.  Even if you are perfectly healthy, it only takes a minute to consult your pharmacist, if you have any concerns about medication effects or interaction.