Source - Living With Diabetes -- email- October 02, 2016
1. *** Don’t split pills to cut costs. Many diabetes medications are extended release, so they are engineered to deliver the active ingredient over a 24-hour period. If you split pills, you might “break the matrix, which can result in the wrong amounts released at the wrong times,” says Robert S. Roscoe, B.Sc.Pharm, ACPR, CDE, CPT, a pharmacist and certified diabetes educator in Rothesay, New Brunswick, Canada. “This can have negative effects on blood sugar levels.” Before splitting your pills, always ask a pharmacist if it’s okay.
2. *** Don’t skip a dose. “One of the biggest mistakes people with diabetes make is not taking their medications when they don’t eat, when they modify their diet, or when they’re sick,” says Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, CDE, a professor and associate dean for clinical services and practice transformation at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore ( USA ).
3. *** Know which cold medications affect blood sugar. If you take medication for diabetes, certain over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications may wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels, Rodriguez de Bittner says. Some OTC cold medications contain either sugar or alcohol, which can affect blood glucose, she says. Products with pseudoephedrine commonly found in cough or cold medications can also elevate blood sugar and blood pressure. It’s better to take sugar-free or alcohol-free medications for a cough or cold, especially if you’re using these products for several days or if your blood sugar is high or not well-controlled. A nasal spray decongestant may be a better alternative because it has little or no effect on blood sugar.
4. *** Don’t assume “natural” means safe. Many natural supplements can affect blood sugar, including niacin, DHEA, ginkgo biloba, melatonin, black or green tea, and high-dose fish oil or vitamin C, Rodriguez de Bittner says. “Other supplements might require a dosage change if you take medication for diabetes,” she says. “Check with a pharmacist before you start taking any supplement so you’re aware of how the supplement might affect your blood sugar as well as any potential drug interactions.”
5. *** Start diabetes treatment as soon as possible. Rather than start treatment right away, some people newly diagnosed with diabetes want to try to lose weight first to see if they can naturally reduce their blood sugar levels. “They’ll say, ‘Give me six months and I’ll lose weight,’ but that’s a mistake,” Roscoe says. “The sooner you can start treatment the better. You can always be rewarded for losing weight by being able to reduce or stop medication.” If treatment is delayed, your diabetes may progress and you could need more medication, he says.
6. *** Ask the right questions. When you’re first prescribed a new diabetes medication, the ADA suggests asking your pharmacist the following questions:
What if I forget to take this medication?
What are the side effects of this medication?
What should I do if I experience any side effects from this medication?
Will this medication cause a problem with any other medicines?
7. *** Don’t get discouraged. Most people with diabetes will need more than one medication to effectively manage the condition, Roscoe says. “This doesn’t mean you’re not doing well, and even if you need insulin, it doesn’t mean your diabetes is worse or that it’s your fault,” he says. A pharmacist can explain what each medication does and why it’s important that you take all of your diabetes medications as directe.