Medications That Interact With Insulin
Diabetes mellitus is not an uncommon disease that develops in later life. It is ten times more prevalent in individuals over 65 years of age than in those between 20 and 44 years. It is estimated that about 10% of individuals over 65 years of age have diabetes. Individuals with diabetes are twenty-five times more likely to become blind, seventeen times more likely to develop kidney disease, twenty times more likely to develop gangrene and two times more likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack than an aged matched group without diabetes.
Given the above statistics, it would seem essential that the older one gets the more one should have blood sugar levels tested to determine whether diabetes is present. Low sugar diet and medications seem to control this disease in the short run. The big problem in the elderly is related to interactions of insulin with other medications. It is common knowledge that the elderly take quite a number of medications. With that in mind, we have checked the professional literature and found the following:
Medications which may increase insulin requirements:
Medications which may decrease insulin requirements:
As you can see the list is long and includes many common medications taken by the elderly. This is why it is important to tell your primary physician all medications, herbs, over-the-counter drugs and supplements that you are taking. An informed physician is your best ally in treating your condition.
Further complicating the issue of medication effect in the elderly is the fact that renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate decline with age resulting in decreased medication clearance. Hepatic enzyme activity is reduced also with age.
All these factors and probably other factors make prescribing of medication in the elderly a particular sensitive skill that merits caution in dosage and duration. Happily, a new generation of medical professionals, geriatricians, are graduating from some medical schools who are being trained in this sensitive area.
FOR AN INFORMATIVE AND PERSONAL ARTICLE ON PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS WHEN SELECTING A NURSING HOME SEE OUR ARTICLE "How to Select a Nursing Home"
Harold Rubin, MS, ABD, CRC, Guest Lecturer
posted August 6, 2000
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