Diabetes and taking medications for other conditions

by | May 1, 2023 | Diabetes, Medicine, Mental health

Apart from the medicines you take to control your diabetes — insulin and/or oral hypoglycaemic tablets — you may need to take medicines to treat other conditions. Some of these medicines can affect your blood sugar levels and alter your usual blood glucose control.

Diabetes is a disorder of sugar processing leading to unhealthy blood sugar levels.

Around 1.35 million Australians have type 1 and type 2 diabetes.  There are three main types of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks and damages the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. When this happens, the body can no longer produce insulin to control blood sugar.

People with type 1 diabetes need lifelong insulin injections.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is where cells in the body become resistant to insulin. This means they stop taking up sugar from the blood.

Risk factors include:

  • a family history of diabetes
  • poor diet
  • not enough exercise
  • obesity
  • gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes happens during pregnancy. The condition usually disappears once the baby is born. If you have gestational diabetes, you’re at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

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Medications that may unintentionally affect your blood sugar levels

It is important always to tell any doctor who is treating you that you have diabetes and also tell them the names and doses of all the medicines you are currently taking, including:

  • your diabetes medicines;
  • other prescription medicines (including ointments, eye drops and medicines you take only when needed);
  • over-the-counter preparations from your pharmacist or supermarket;
  • herbs, supplements and complementary medicines.

Your doctor will then be able to prescribe medicines for you with your diabetes control in mind.

Research also shows that having diabetes more than doubles the risk of developing depression or anxiety. Living with a chronic condition like diabetes, coping with biological and hormonal factors, plus needing to manage the condition on a daily basis may increase the risk of feeling sad, down or miserable most of the time or losing interest or pleasure in most of their usual activities.

Depression or anxiety can increase the likelihood of developing diabetes complications.

People suffering from mental health may find it harder to deal with everyday tasks.

Over time, managing diabetes (regular blood glucose testing, taking medication, following a healthy eating plan and regular physical activity) can take its toll. This may increase a person’s risk of depression, which may lead to their usual diabetes care being neglected.

A helping hand when you need it most.

Having your medicine home delivered can definitely help at times when you are feeling anxious about leaving home or being in crowded spaces. Having your medication filled this way can stop you from going down an endless spiral.

We have already helped thousands of Australians obtain their medicine at times when going to the pharmacy for essential medication feels like an impossible task.

Do you have a question about your medication?

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Medicines that raise blood glucose levels

Some medicines may increase your blood glucose levels.

For example:

  • corticosteroids (usually prescribed to treat inflammation in the body as may occur in arthritis, asthma or other lung problems);
  • some antipsychotic medicines;
  • some diuretics (‘fluid’ tablets); and
  • some over-the-counter medicines are in syrup form and contain a high sugar level.

Medicines that lower blood glucose levels

Some medicines may decrease your blood glucose levels by, for example, increasing your sensitivity to insulin or enhancing the glucose-lowering effect of sulphonylurea tablets prescribed to treat diabetes.

Medicines that may lower blood glucose levels include:

  • certain antidepressants;
  • certain antibiotics;
  • quinine (an antimalarial); and
  • fenugreek (a type of herbal supplement).

Diabetes medication delivered to your home

Time to refill your diabetes medicine? You can now get same-day delivery on any prescribed medication from your local pharmacy directly to your home. Simply upload your prescriptions on the Chemist2U app to get all your medications delivered.

Diabetes and mental health

Managing diabetes can be mentally and emotionally taxing. People with diabetes contend with so many extra decisions — up to 180 each day — related to:

  • diet
  • medication
  • exercise

Managing such challenges can lead to anxiety, distress and depression. In fact, more than one in three people living with diabetes struggles with their mental health.

If you think you need help managing your diabetes — or your mental health — speak to your health professional.

Where to get the support you need

Diabetes organisations in your local area can generally provide support to people with all types of diabetes from the time of diagnosis and throughout their entire life.

Here are a range of services and programs to support your needs.

Support and information on diabetes treatment, monitoring and medications

Your local pharmacists do more than fill your script – they are qualified medicines experts who advise and counsel millions of Australians on medicines and general healthcare every year.

Need a script filled? Speak to a Chemist2U pharmacist now.

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Medically reviewed by Dr Matt Cullen
MBBS, FRANZCP

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