From Sunnyside, New York, USA:
What medicine can I give to a diabetic who has a cold and is coughing? I want to give cough medicines but they say don't give to diabetics. Please help.
Most cough medicines themselves such as Dextromethorphan and Guaifenesin do not affect the blood sugar. However, the syrup itself may be high in sugar. Many of these cough medicines are made in combination with decongestants. The decongestants can raise the blood sugar and make your child more apt to spill ketones even if the syrup has no sugar. Antihistamines and codeine do not affect the blood sugar.
There are several brands of cough medicine made that are sugar free, alcohol free, and decongestant free. Some are labeled specifically for people with diabetes. Others are labeled for the elderly. I would ask your local pharmacist to recommend one that is sugar free, alcohol free, and decongestant free.
Original posting 26 May 97
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