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Why do over-the-counter decongestants or antihistamines warn that they are not to be used by people with diabetes?
Fort Worth, Texas
They can be used by people with diabetes, but with caution.
Decongestants are similar to adrenaline, thus they can cause blood vessels to constrict and increase blood pressure. Also, as with adrenaline, decongestants can release sugar into the blood stream and raise blood sugars. For most people, it is not a big deal. To see if it is a big deal for you, test your blood sugar, take the decongestant, then keep testing to see what happens.
The problem lies in the fact that if you require a decongestant, you are probably already sick, so your blood sugars are high anyway. Caution is advised.
Antihistamines have a slight decongestive effect, but not enough to worry about. One danger is that antihistamines can make you drowsy, and you may forget to test your blood sugars.
R. Keith Campbell, RPh, CDE
Professor of Pharmacy
Washington State University
Nov 1, 1999
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.