Ask an Expert FAQs — Your Oral Meds Questions Answered

Q: My meds are making me sick/not working. I feel better when I stop. What will happen if I stay off the meds?

A: If your meds are making you sick, you need to try something different. See your doctor and describe the difficulties you are experiencing. For example, if you are taking metformin (Glucophage) and it is upsetting your stomach, oftentimes decreasing the amount and taking it with food in your stomach will stop the symptoms. Once you are sure it is not bothering you, then you can slowly increase the amount (250-500 mg increase per week) until you reach full dose comfortably. If you are never able to tolerate it, then it simply isn't the right medication for you. Staying off of medications that you need in order to maintain normal glucose levels will eventually lead to long-term diabetic complications, such as kidney damage and failure, foot problems (often leading to amputation), eye disease (the leading cause of blindness) and a greater risk for stroke and heart attack (the number one cause of death in people with diabetes). Therefore, it obviously isn't safe to simply stay off meds - not unless you are able to maintain healthy blood glucose numbers (80-140) with consistent diet and exercise.

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Last Modified Date: June 19, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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