Are you wondering what is going to happen to you if you stop taking your diabetes medication?
Medications are one of the most important tools for combating the difficulties that diabetes can bring. However, due to side effects, drug cost, or an unwillingness to continue, you may forget to take a dose or stop taking medication.
What happens if you stop taking diabetes medication? Find out in this article.
What happens if you stop taking diabetes medication?
One of the most common reasons why people living with diabetes decide to stop taking their medications is when they realize their blood sugar measurement has been within range for a while.
But here is what you are likely to encounter if you stop taking your diabetes medication. Your blood sugar will likely return to unusually high levels. It is usually the case that your blood sugar may be under control because you have been religiously taking your medications.
If you happen to stop taking them without consulting your doctor about it, you may be in for a surprise that may be worse than you can imagine.
Over time, uncontrolled high blood sugar can have major health implications, including:
- Nerve damage (neuropathy)
- Eyesight problems (retinopathy)
- Kidney disease (nephropathy)
- Gum disease
- Heart disease
- Stroke and a host of other health conditions.
It is important that you speak to your doctor if you want to stop your diabetes medication. This is done to prevent risks that may arise as a result of uncontrolled high blood sugar. It’s critical to take your diabetic medication exactly as directed to keep your blood sugar in balance.
If your diabetes medication isn’t working as well as you’d like it to or you’re having unpleasant side effects, your doctor may be able to help by changing the dose, prescribing a different prescription, or suggesting lifestyle modifications.
Long-term usage of the diabetes medicine metformin, for example, can result in vitamin B12 insufficiency. If this happens, your doctor may recommend taking vitamin B12 supplements in addition to maintaining your diabetes medication.
In rare instances, your doctor may advise you to stop using diabetes medication. If your kidneys aren’t functioning properly, you may need to stop taking a drug like metformin.
Metformin use along with poor kidney function may increase the risk of lactic acidosis, a potentially fatal consequence.
Lactic acidosis symptoms include loss of appetite, difficulty in breathing, stomach problems, fatigue, vomiting, nausea, etc. If you see any of these or other serious side effects while taking diabetes medication, call your doctor right away.
You may need to return to your medications despite your best efforts with healthy food and exercise. Diabetes is a condition that progresses. You may be able to stop taking medications early on, but even the healthiest individual will find that this is not a long-term solution.
What happens if you forget to take a dose?
If you take oral diabetes medication, it’s critical that you take it on a regular basis. You may need to take your medication more than once a day in some instances.
For persons with diabetes, medication adherence is critical, which involves taking your prescriptions exactly as your doctor advises. If you miss a dose, your blood glucose levels will rise, which might lead to serious issues over time.
Missing one dosage is unlikely to be an issue if your blood sugar levels have been within the usual range recently and you have a balanced diet and good lifestyle.
However, missing many doses or failing to follow your doctor’s food and lifestyle recommendations can result in hyperglycemia (persistently high blood sugar level).
Glucose levels greater than 180 mg/dL 2 hours after a meal or greater than 130 mg/dL before a meal are considered high.
Missing doses of oral diabetes medications can result in major health problems, some of which may necessitate hospitalization. This also raises the expense of your therapy altogether. Nerve damage, as well as eye, kidney, and heart disorders, are all possible side effects.
The longer these illnesses go untreated, the worse they get.
If you miss a dosage, follow these steps.
- If you forget to take an oral prescription, take it as soon as possible after realizing you’ve forgotten.
- If the missed dose has been more than a few hours and the next dose is approaching, skip the missed dose and take the following dose at the scheduled time. Do not take two doses.
- Then, phone your doctor and inquire about your specific drug and their recommendations.
- A patient information booklet that comes with your prescription will tell you what to do if you miss a dose. It’s a good idea to put this packet somewhere safe.
High blood sugar, or glucose, is referred to as hyperglycemia. It occurs when the body produces or uses insufficient insulin. This hormone aids in the absorption of glucose for energy.
Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
- weight reduction
- issues with vision
- severe hunger
- frequent urge to urinate
Skipping doses on purpose
If you’re skipping medicine dosages on purpose to avoid side effects or save money, talk to your doctor. Other strategies for managing diabetes might be discussed with your doctor.
There are a variety of pharmacological classes available, and some may be more bearable than others for you. There might be less expensive alternatives to the prescriptions you’ve been given.
Sometimes the first few weeks after starting a medicine, side effects are not visible. Taking the drug with a meal reduces the number of unpleasant gastrointestinal (GI) side effects that can occur during the first few weeks of treatment.
You’re forgetting your medicines because you’re taking too many each day?
If you’re skipping doses because you’re taking too many medicines each day and can’t keep track of them, talk to your doctor about your options.
Your doctor may be able to prescribe a multi-medication combo tablet for you. You’ll be able to take fewer tablets each day as a result of this.
Remedies to help you remember to take your prescription
Keeping track of your medications can be tough, especially if you take many medications to treat type 2 diabetes and other health problems. Here are some reminders to help you remember to take your medicine.
- Organize your meds in pill trays with weekly sections.
- Use your phone or another smart device to set reminders.
- Keep track of your medications on a chart on the wall or on your refrigerator, or on a smartphone app. Look for medicine reminders in your app store.
- Take your pills at the same time every day while doing anything else, such as brushing your teeth, preparing breakfast, or going to bed.
- Keep your pill box visible on the restroom counter.
- Request assistance from a friend or family member.
When a diabetic skips or stops taking his or her medications, the consequences may take time to manifest.
However, ignoring your diabetic medication dosages can hurt your body over time and lead to a variety of other health issues. Loss of appetite, breathing difficulties, stomach issues, exhaustion, vomiting, nausea, and nerve damage are just a few of the side effects of skipping or quitting medicine completely.