Medications that Affect Blood Sugar

Institutes & Services > Diabetes

Some medicines that are used for other conditions such as high blood pressure, COPD, or depression can affect your blood sugar. Some over the counter medicines can affect your blood sugar. Alcohol, caffeine and nicotine all affect your blood sugar.

Below are lists of some of the medicines that might cause your blood sugar to increase or decrease. Do not stop taking prescription medicines or change the dose without talking to your doctor. Always let your doctor know what over the counter medicines, vitamins and supplements you take.

Medicines That Increase Blood Sugar:

  • Alcohol (acute use-social drinking)
  • Antibiotics (Dapsone, Rifampin)
  • Antidepressants (Zyprexa, risperdal, Clozaril, Seroquel, Abilify, Geodon, lithium)
  • Beta-2 stimulators (Proventil, Alupent, Serevent, Foradil, Brethine, Theo-Dur)
  • Caffeine
  • Corticosteroids (Prednisone, Decadron, DepoMedrol)
  • Dilantin (phenytoin)
  • Nicotine (smoking and patches)
  • Estrogens (Premarin, hormone replacement therapy)
  • Heart and blood pressure medications (amiodarone, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, catapress, diuretics)
  • Oral contraceptives (Birth control pills)
  • Niacin or nicotinic acid
  • Protease inhibitors (ritonavir etc-AIDS drugs)
  • Thyroid hormones (Synthroid, Levothroid)

Medicines That Decrease Blood Sugar:

  • Antibiotics (Bactrim/Septra)
  • Alcohol (acute excess amounts)
  • Aspirin and other salicylates in larger doses
  • Heart and blood pressure medications (ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, Norpace, Quinidine)
  • Quinine
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen-especially in larger doses)

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