Most diabetes treatments are highly effective in controlling and lowering your blood sugar levels, which is of the utmost importance with diabetes. However, most of these treatments are powerful medications so they do come with side effects and may interfere with the use of other medications and supplements.
Diabetes medications can cause a wide range of side effects, from upset stomach to more severe complications. Mixing your diabetes drugs with other medicines may even potentially hinder the effectiveness of your diabetes treatment. So here are some side effects associated with the most common diabetes treatment options you should be aware of.
Familiarize Yourself with Your Medications
All diabetes treatments and medicines differ, so their side effects and drug interactions also vary.
Commonly used for type 2 diabetes, metformin lowers blood sugar by correcting the way the body makes use of insulin in addition to reducing the sugar production by the liver.
The most common side effects associated with metformin, also known as biguanides, are bloating, diarrhea, and nausea. In most cases, these are temporary side effects that subside once the patient builds up a tolerance to the drug.
Very rarely, metformin can lead to an excess buildup of lactic acid, which is called lactic acidosis. This condition is characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, drowsiness, difficulty breathing, unexplained muscle pain, and upset stomach.
There are also drugs that are known to interfere with the effect of metformin, which are amiloride, cephalexin, digoxin, dicyclomine, procainamide, quinidine, trimethoprim, and vancomycin. Your doctor may need to monitor you closely if you go on metformin and are on one or more of these medications.
Also known as glipizide, these medications increase the insulin production in the pancreas to lower blood sugar.
Glipizide, however, can lower blood sugar too much, causing side effects of dizziness, trembling, sweating, and confusion. Extreme low blood sugar can be very dangerous, so eating right and having small meals every few hours are also vital to keeping it under control.
Some less common side effects of the drug include darker urine, stomach problems, and weight increase.
Up to 100 medications interact with the function of glipizide; some enhancing its effect, others lowering the blood to dangerous levels. Some of these medications include antibiotics like isoniazid, azole antifungals, gemfibrozil (cholesterol), beta-blockers, birth control pill;s, tricyclic antidepressants, ACE inhibitors, and more.
Just as glipizide, repaglinide also promotes increased insulin production in the pancreas. Meglitinides are fast-acting but short-lasting drugs.
Repaglinide can cause weight increase and excess blood sugar.
Many medications interfere with the way meglitinides work, lowering or raising blood sugar too much. Some of these drugs are thiazide diuretics, antibiotics like isoniazid and rifampin, corticosteroids, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, azole antifungals, beta-blockers, estrogen, and more.
TZDs, also known as pioglitazone, promote the proper use of insulin in the body.
The side effects of pioglitazone include swelling, weight gain, and high cholesterol. TZDs can also result in heart failure and bone damage.
Some medications prevent the action of TZDs, which are gemfibrozil, fluvoxamine, trimethoprim, ketoconazole, and rifampicin. Sulfonylureas, nitrates, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have also been linked with an increased risk of heart disease for those who are on TZDs.
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