What Medications Can Raise Blood Sugar Levels?

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Do you know what medications can raise blood sugar levels? Yes, it may even include doctor-prescribed drugs. Here are the ones to watch out for.

RELATED: 4 Easy Ways to Get Blood Sugar Under Control

What Common Medications Can Raise Blood Sugar Levels?

1. Albuterol, Asthma Medications That Can Raise Blood Sugar Levels

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Do you have asthma medication?

Albuterol is the generic name of a prescription drug used to treat asthma.


It relaxes your airways, opening up your throat, and is useful in managing symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

But one of its side effects may include raising your blood sugar. As it is a prescription drug, discuss first with your doctor if you are prediabetic. Also, let your doctor immediately know if you experience other side effects.

Brand names include:

  • Accuneb
  • Proair HFA
  • Proair Respiclick
  • Proventil HFA
  • Ventolin HFA

In cases of emergency such as severe allergic reactions, call 911.

2. Aripiprazole, Psychotropic Medications That May Raise Blood Sugar

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The medicine your psychologist prescribed may also cause your blood sugar to spike.

Aripiprazole is available as a tablet, liquid solution, or disintegrating tablet.


It may be used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, and some symptoms of autism.

Brand names include:

  • Abilify
  • Abilify Discmelt

However helpful this drug may be, it may also cause hyperglycemia. In some cases, it might even lead to diabetic ketoacidosis.

Take your medicine precisely as your doctor instructed. If you experience any side effects, let your doctor know as soon as possible.

3. Atorvastatin, Heart Medications That Can Raise Blood Sugar Levels

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Statins are heart medications that you might take if you're at risk of a heart attack.

It helps lower your blood pressure and may help manage hypertension. But as an effect, it may pull up your blood sugar.

Because of this, statins come with a warning label about diabetes and blood sugar levels.

The US brand name for atorvastatin is Lipitor.

Not everyone will experience side effects from taking statins. But there are risk factors that might increase your chances, including:

  • sex (females)
  • age (over 60)
  • alcohol consumption
  • smaller body frames
  • taking plenty of medication
  • liver or kidney disease
  • hypothyroidism
  • neuromuscular disorders

Note that these are not specific to your risk of developing hyperglycemia.

Statins are generally safe but discuss with your doctor if you're experiencing some side effects. Your doctor may prescribe a lower dosage or change to a different drug.

4. Carvedilol, Hypertension and Heart Failure Medications That Can Raise Blood Sugar Levels

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Here's another heart medication that comes with a warning label.

Beta-blockers such as carvedilol may help lower blood pressure. Beta-blockers could do this by slowing your heart rate and opening up your veins and arteries to promote healthy blood flow.

Despite the warning label, the potential benefits of beta-blockers may outweigh the risks.

US brand names may include Coreg and Coreg CR.

Doctors may also prescribe carvedilol to patients that suffered from a heart attack. The drug may help keep the heart pumping and may prevent their condition from worsening.

But again, advise your doctor if you're experiencing side effects from your medication.

RELATED: How To Control Your Blood Sugar | Bulletproof Radio [LISTEN]

5. Chlorothiazide, Medications for Edema That May Cause High Blood Glucose

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A drug that may help manage complications from diseases and treatments comes with its own side effects.

Chlorothiazide is a diuretic your doctor may prescribe you to help treat edema or fluid retention.

Fluid retention may be caused by heart, liver, or kidney disease. And it may also be caused by hormone or steroid treatments.

Chlorothiazide may go by the brand names Diuril® and Chlotride®.

6. Corticosteroids, Corticosteroid Medications That Can Raise Blood Sugar Levels

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Corticosteroids or steroids are artificial versions of the cortisol hormone.

Doctors may prescribe them to treat or manage conditions related to inflammation such as:

  • blood vessel inflammation
  • muscle inflammation
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • lupus
  • kidney inflammation

There are many kinds of steroids. But examples you might have heard of include prednisone, cortisone, and methylprednisolone.

While steroids bring a host of benefits, they too, come with a disclaimer.

There are three ways steroids may cause diabetes:

  • increase glucose production
  • keep your cells from getting glucose
  • lowers insulin sensitivity

Below are risk factors that could increase your chances of developing diabetes from steroids:

If there is a drug you want to take that contains steroids, consult with your doctor first. Not everyone may experience side effects, but steroids come with a warning label. And it's best to ask your doctor if steroids are the best treatment for you.

If you do take steroids, you may want to monitor your blood glucose levels and blood pressure. And especially if you take steroids long-term, watch out for high blood sugar levels.

7. Fluoxetine, Antidepressant Medications That May Spike Blood Sugar Levels

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Even medication that could support your mental health may brew trouble elsewhere in your body.

Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and is used to treat disorders like:

  • depression
  • bulimia
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder

It may go by the brand names Prozac or Sarafem.

Prozac is available as a:

  • tablet
  • capsule
  • delayed-release capsule
  • liquid solution

Meanwhile, Sarafem comes in capsule form.

Some studies found that the drug may cause hyperglycemia. On the other hand, some studies suggest that it might not have an effect on blood sugar levels.

Let your doctor know if you are diabetic and are taking diabetes medication. It may make it tricky to control your blood sugar.

8. Furosemide, Diuretic Medications That Can Raise Blood Sugar Levels

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Much like chlorothiazide, furosemide is a diuretic that may influence your blood sugar levels.

It is marketed under the brand names like Lasix and Furocot.

Furosemide acts on the kidneys to help treat edema and swelling. Doctors may prescribe it along with other heart medications or alone.

This prescription-only drug comes in solution and tablet forms.

9. Gabapentin, Anticonvulsant Medications That Could Affect Blood Sugar

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Gabapentin may be used to treat neurological disorders such as seizures and postherpetic neuralgia. It could also help relieve pain for some neurological conditions.

US brand names include:

  • Fusepaq Fanatrex
  • Gabarone
  • Gralise
  • Neurontin

Around 1.2% of Gabapentin users may experience hyperglycemia compared to placebo.

If you are diabetic, you may want to discuss this with your doctor.

10. Levothyroxine, Thyroid Medications That Can Cause High Blood Sugar Levels

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Doctors may prescribe levothyroxine to treat hyperthyroidism.

It could go by the brand names:

  • Levothroid
  • Levoxyl
  • Synthroid
  • Tirosint
  • Unithroid

And it may come in the form of a capsule, liquid solution, or tablet.

If you are diabetic, let your doctor know before taking levothyroxine. You may need to adjust your diabetic medication or dosage as this drug may affect your blood sugar levels.

What Medications Can Raise Blood Sugar Levels?

This list tackles the more common drugs and is not an exhaustive list. (And the list is long. Trust us.) But these are the ones you may encounter or use the most. If you spot your medicine here, you may want to bring this up with your doctor.

It turns out your sugary diet isn't the only possible cause of high blood sugar. There are drugs with side effects that may include a rise in your blood sugar.

The lesson here is that it's essential to look at your lifestyle holistically when diagnosing your condition. It may be your diet, activity level, stress—or ironically—something that's supposed to heal you.

If you're pre-diabetic, make sure to discuss with your doctor medications that could cause high blood sugar. Your family history and medical history could help your doctor determine the best medicine to prescribe to you.

But the truth is, many people may not know that they are pre-diabetic or have high blood sugar. So pay attention to your condition and what your body is telling you.

Check out this video to learn more about what medications can cause high blood sugar:

When it comes to your health, no detail is too small. Especially when we're talking about high blood sugar.

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