Drug Induced Diabetes

1. Med Bottle walkingDrug Induced Diabetes is a form of a secondary diabetes that develops as a result of having another health condition.  It can be reversible after a medication that caused it is discontinued, or it can be permanent.

Drugs that have been linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes include:

  • corticosteroids
  • diuretics also known as water pills
  • beta blockers (blood pressure meds)
  • some mood disorder meds
  • statins (cholesterol lowering meds)

CORTICOSTEROIDS are a powerful group of medications commonly used to treat a range of autoimmune disorders, and can be taken to treat a number of illnesses including asthma, lupus, RA (rheumatoid arthritis), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Corticosteroids are known to increase insulin resistance that leads to the elevated BG levels that may or may not return to normal once the med is discontinued.  If they are taken over longer periods of time (longer than 3 months), this can lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes permanently.  Diabetes symptoms however, such as dry mouth, blurred vision, increased thirst, increased need to urinate, tiredness and lethargy may not even be present unless BG levels are significantly higher than normal.

BETA BLOCKERS (blood pressure medications) are usually prescribed to treat angina, heart disease and high blood pressure.  They can cause reduced sensitivity to insulin which can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

DIURETICS commonly known as water pills are taken to reduce blood pressure or to remove excess water from the body.  One of the side effects includes increased BG levels that may or may not return to normal after the treatment is discontinued.  If they don’t return to normal, then it’s a secondary Type 2 diabetes.

MOOD DISORDER MEDS.  The side effects include weight gain and high BG levels.  The elevated BG levels may return to normal after the med is discontinued, but not always. If significant weight has been gained over the course of the treatment, insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes may be permanent.

STATINS.  These are cholesterol lowering meds that have been widely prescribed since being introduced in 2003.  A study published in the JAMA medical journal in 2011 demonstrated a link between taking higher doses of statin meds and a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.  In 2012, FDA has issued a warning on statins to advise of on the higher risk of elevated BG levels and also memory problems associated with taking the statins.

BOTTOM LINE:  now that you’re aware of these side effects, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your doctor.  My now former GP has always been ignorant to the side effects of any medication; in her set of mind, benefits always outweigh the risks, no matter what.  Now thanks to my computer, I know better.  I am also grateful that WordPress has allowed me to blog about it and expand my knowledge horizons.


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1 Response to Drug Induced Diabetes

  1. I have used some of the drugs mention. I find I do beetter when I don’t take anything. My doctor doesn’t like it but I take only blood pressure medicine which I think is a beta blocker. An one to help with mood swings. My doctor has me 5000 unit of Vit d once a week. That has help and I feel I might low on zinc.

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