The idea that any medication available without a prescription is safe to take can be a dangerous one for those with diabetes, who risk spikes in blood glucose and blood pressure by taking the wrong medication for something as simple as the common cold.

According to a researcher at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy, who said that nonprescription medications can have contraindications and drug interactions similar to those posed by prescription medications.

A pharmacist, she said, can help recommend a nonprescription medication that will both treat the minor ailment and be safe to take with prescription medications for diabetes.

“Many liquid cough and cold medicines contain carbohydrate and alcohol. Sometimes this amount can be significant to affect blood glucose levels.

The content of these ingredients is not included on the drug facts label. Sugar-free options are sometimes available, but might not always be required.”

The drug facts label was standardized by the FDA in 1999, Wilhelm said, and includes six required sections: active ingredients, including its strength, class and purpose; uses (indication); warnings (usually divided into several sections); directions for use; other information (oftentimes storage information) and inactive ingredients.

The manufacturer determines what warnings and precautions appear on the label, Wilhelm said.

 

Source: The Vanguard Newspaper