List of Drugs That Raise Blood Sugar: Identify Your Medicines Now

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Hardik Bambhania, M.B.B.S, Consultant Diabetologist March 17, 2022

Last updated on September 30th, 2022

A diabetic person must be knowing about things that raise their blood sugar. Similar to a diet containing excessive carbs, or inadequate exercise. Also, medications that person consumes for keeping themselves healthy may also raise blood sugar levels. Read this blog to know about “List of Drugs That Raise Blood Sugar”

When diagnosed with diabetes, people must be aware of the foods and beverages that may spike glucose levels. There are drugs that may spike glucose levels, a condition is known as hyperglycemia.

If a person is uncertain about prescription medicine, he or she must ask a healthcare provider whether it would impact blood sugar. This is important before a person consumes the medicine.

List of Drugs That Raise Blood Sugar

Medications either prescription or OTC may be an issue for individuals who wish to control their glucose levels. Check out the list of drugs that raise blood sugar here:


People take corticosteroids to treat health problems like rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. These drugs might be successful in managing these issues. Also, they may cause mess over the glucose levels. On reducing the steroid doses or stopping the medicine, the blood glucose levels revert to their previous readings. These steroids can be prednisone or prednisolone.

These medicines are helpful for treating medical problems relating to inflammation. These medical conditions include asthma, arthritis, hypersensitivities, and joint injuries. Corticosteroids present in skin creams or inhalers do not have an effect on sugar levels. As they fail to enter the bloodstream in sufficient amounts. However, corticosteroids via injection or oral may considerably increase blood sugar levels.


Corticosteroids bring about high blood glucose in diabetic patients. These drugs increase the liver’s resistance to insulin. It results in insulin resistance in diabetics while they’re consuming the medicine.

Also Read: Can Quitting Alcohol Reverse Diabetes?

Antihypertensive Drugs

Diuretics i.e., medicines that manage a person’s blood pressure. They work by removing fluid from the body. This causes more often urination and might also elevate the blood glucose levels. Common medicines involve hydrochlorothiazide and furosemide.


Patients experiencing mental problems like schizophrenia depend upon antipsychotic medications. They help to manage their signs. These medications might be lifesaving. Also, they elevate the levels of blood glucose particularly,

  • aripiprazole
  • quetiapine fumarate
  • olanzapine
  • risperidone
  • ziprasidone
  • clozapine

If a person is taking any of these especially, olanzapine, he or she must regularly check their glucose levels before beginning the medication. These medicines are used for months or years, hence it may be a problem to have knowledge of.

Antipsychotic treatment may improve a person’s physical and psychosocial functioning. They may also increase healthy behaviours and reduce the risk of diabetes complications.

Also Read: Best Indian Diabetic Diet For Adults

Heart Medicines

Beta-blockers treat heart issues. They also have an impact on blood glucose levels. Beta-blockers medicines may include:

  • propranolol
  • atenolol
  • bisoprolol
  • acebutolol
  • metoprolol

This huge category of heart medications reduces blood pressure. They also treat a range of other medical conditions, such as abnormal heartbeat and anxiety. Also, these medications elevate a person’s glucose levels. Few beta-blockers exert less effect on the sugar levels than others. However, these medicines are at times more costly and might not be under insurance. In addition, beta-blockers might mask tachycardia relating to low blood glucose.


Blood pressure drugs remove sodium and potassium from the body. Potassium is known to absorb glucose into fat and muscle tissue. Thus, in the absence of potassium levels, blood glucose levels might rise.

Birth Control Pills

Oral contraceptives may increase glucose levels in a diabetic person. Even if the increase isn’t a big one, professionals note that one must be aware of this known side effect before beginning this medicine. Heart attack and stroke are chief killers among diabetics and are not effective medicines for statins.

Statins for Lessening the Levels of LDL or Bad Cholesterol 

Statins are the drugs that reduce LDL cholesterol levels. They are an important therapy for managing cardiac problems like stroke. Also, these medicines can increase the levels of blood glucose. And, for prediabetics, using a statin-associated with a higher risk of developing full-scale diabetes. The use of statins relates to a 30% greater risk of diabetes.


Statins lower down insulin secretion in type 2 diabetics. And, causes overall insulin resistance in type 1 diabetic patients as well. Both of these would elevate the levels of blood sugar.

Antibiotics to Kill Infections like UTIs and Pneumonia

Antibiotics (fluoroquinolones) are helpful in the treatment of pneumonia and urinary tract infections (UTIs). They result in very low and high blood glucose levels. Moreover, pentamidine, an antimicrobial medication used in the treatment of a type of pneumonia, might also raise the levels of blood glucose.

Also Read: How to Lower Blood Sugar?

Decongestants for Common Cold or Flu

Decongestant medications like pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine may increase glucose levels. Both come in the market as OTC drugs, although medicine with pseudoephedrine is available from a pharmacist only. Various decongestants make use of these constituents, hence check labels carefully. Acute usage of these is perhaps okay, but discuss with a doctor first.

Other prescription medications that may elevate the sugar levels include:

  • Thiazide diuretics
  • Adrenaline for serious hypersensitive reactions
  • Isotretinoin for acne
  • Niacin, a B vitamin
  • High doses of asthma drugs, or injectables for asthma treatment
  • Medications for treating HIV and hepatitis C
  • Tacrolimus, for organ transplantation

Symptoms to Watch For

Whether your new medication elevates the blood glucose levels or not, whenever a person begins a new medicine, it’s better to watch for symptoms of hyperglycemia. These may include:

  • intense thirst
  • hazy vision
  • fatigue
  • urinating more often

How Can a Person Decide Which Medicine is Safe?

Although these medications might elevate glucose levels, it doesn’t imply that he or she must not consume them even if they require them. The most vital thing is a discussion with a doctor about the appropriate way to use them. If a person has diabetes or he or she is watching blood glucose, ask a healthcare provider before consuming new medications or altering any medications. Even though, the medicines are just for a cough or cold. Take care, just being ill may elevate the levels of blood glucose as well.

Ensure that a healthcare provider knows about all the medications a person consumes for diabetes or for other health conditions. If any of them impact the blood sugar, doctors might alter the doses or may alter its duration too. A person might require regular monitoring of the blood sugar while on medications as well. In addition, people must always remember to do the things that keep the levels under control. These things can be eating right, regular exercises, and consuming diabetes medications as per needs.


As a diabetic, a person would unavoidably need to consume other prescription medications all over their life. Also, the goal is not to avoid other medicines all in all due to their impact on blood glucose levels. But the goal should be to manage the effects they might have.

How to Manage Medicines that have an Effect on Sugar Levels?

In spite of these risks, a person might find themselves required to take one of these medications while managing diabetes. A person might exercise some steps to control their blood glucose levels. These steps can be:

  • Clear it with a diabetes specialist: If a professional, such as an orthopedist or psychiatrist, suggests a new medicine, check the same with an expert diabetes educator or doctor. This makes sure the safety of medicine for intake. Also, it helps in coordinating any essential changes in diabetes medicines.
  • People must take care of themselves. Line up diet and exercise if a person is consuming medicine that may impact blood glucose control. Exercise and healthy nutrition aid to avoid a spike. Thus, people might not need an aggressive alteration in their medicine routine.
  • Pause before instantly consuming a new medicine. Patients must always discuss with their doctors prior to beginning any new OTC drug.


Adding minor changes to life and routine as a diabetic may aid in decreasing the impact of medications on blood glucose levels. Diabetic people would inescapably need to take other prescription medications from time to time.


Do anticoagulants have an effect on the blood sugar?

When consumed with such anti-diabetic medications, warfarin may strengthen their effects. Also, it can crash the blood sugar levels. People having low blood sugar might seem drunk, dizzy and disordered, and fall down easily.

Can an infection cause spike in the blood sugar?

Infection results in a stress response in the body. This is possible by enhancing the number of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones exert their action against the insulin activity. And, thus the body’s production of sugar amplifies, causing hyperglycemia.

Can amlodipine elevate blood glucose?

Calcium channels releases insulin from the beta cells of pancreas. Hence, calcium channel blockers (amlodipine) may bring about high blood sugar when used in diabetics.

Do antibiotics elevate the levels of blood glucose?

Gatifloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and levofloxacin are some of the antibiotics that spike blood sugar. They do so in in older adults or people already having diabetes. The risk for high blood glucose with these medicines is moderately low.



Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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