Major Health Concerns about Diabetes Medications

I have a guest post today from Barb Stephens from Although Barb’s post specifically talks about Type 2 drugs, I believe that is important to know the side effects of any drug you take. With some drugs like Reglan, side effects can be irreversible. Last year when I went to the dentist, I also learned that drugs like Fosamax can stay in your system for even 10 years after you quit taking it. Do the research before you take any drug or supplement and weigh the pros and cons before using it.

Major Health Concerns about Diabetes Medications


Knowing the harmful side effects of your diabetes medications before they become life-threatening is like predicting your enemies’ next move: You should keep your friends close and your enemies even closer.

Those who have type 2 Diabetes can help to stabilize their blood sugar by taking certain medications. Being aware of major health concerns and risks before you start a new regime of medication will keep you in better control of your overall health.


If you are taking pills that increase the production of insulin, then you should be aware that these may cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Monitoring meals and exercise can help prevent hypoglycemia.

Signs of hypoglycemia include:

  • Increased heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Paleness
  • Anxiety
  • Numbness in fingers, toes and lips
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Headache, and
  • Slurred speech.

Hypoglycemia can cause coma or death.

When you experience hypoglycemia, you should immediately eat or drink glucose-rich food to help your body adjust to a stable blood sugar and prevent further complications.

Risky Medications

Actos and Glucovance are two diabetes medications that may cause serious side effects.

Actos (pioglitazone) is in the thiazolidinedione class. It makes cells more sensitive to insulin, which keeps blood sugar steadier.

If you take Actos, you are putting yourself at an increased risk for tumors that can develop into bladder cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added its black-box warning to Actos, and it continues to be the subject of more than just one Actos lawsuit.

Glucovance is in the sulfonylurea class. If you have a deficiency of a certain enzyme (G6PD), then taking Glucovance may lead to hemolytic anemia (red blood cell destruction).

Most sulfonylureas come with a greater risk for very low blood sugar.

Lantus is insulin that is used by people with type 1 or type 2 Diabetes. This medicine should be approached with caution, as the FDA is reviewing evidence that it may lead to cancer.

Side effects of Lantus that should be reported to your doctor are:

  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Quickened pulse
  • Sweating
  • Low blood pressure
  • Hoarseness
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps, and
  • Abnormal heartbeat.

When Not to be Alarmed

With most oral type 2 diabetes drugs, there are some uncomfortable side effects that are not cause for alarm. These are low blood sugar, weight gain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and higher cholesterol.

While side effects like these can be painful, they are your body’s way of letting you know that a chemical change has occurred. You can ask your doctor if you have questions about your side effects.

Knowing the warnings associated with your medications will help to keep you save from serious cases such as Actos side effects. Remember to research all of your medications well, and quickly address any unusual effects.

Author bio: Barb Stephens is a writer for She uses her medication knowledge to help inform consumers about potential risks involved with certain medications and to help promote overall drug safety.



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