What medications can affect the blood sugar levels of people with diabetes?

People with diabetes often need other medications such as a statin to control cholesterol and blood pressure-lowering drugs. Some drugs can increase your response to insulin; others can reduce it. Those that may increase the blood sugar-lowering effects of insulin include ACE inhibitors, fibrates, certain antidepressants, most oral antidiabetes medications, some anti-arrhythmia drugs, certain pain relievers, hormones and antibiotics.

Drugs that can reduce the blood sugar-lowering effects of insulin include certain steroids; niacin; diuretics; albuterol; certain hormone medications like thyroid hormones, estrogen and progesterones in oral contraceptives; as well as some psychiatric medications such as olanzapine and clozapine.

Beta blockers, clonidine and lithium can make you more susceptible to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), while pentamidine can cause hypoglycemia sometimes followed by hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

Remind every healthcare professional who prescribes any drug for you that you take insulin, and ask if the drug will affect your blood sugar levels.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.