Do OTC Pain Relievers Affect Glucose?

Q: Do Advil, Aleve, and Tylenol have any effect on blood glucose? Should they be taken with or without food, or is there a difference?

A: Advil and Aleve are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory over-the-counter drugs. In general, they do not have a marked effect on blood glucose levels. If a person takes diabetes medication from the sulfonylurea class (glyburide, glipizide, glimepiride, chlorpropramide) at the same time, however, there is risk for low blood glucose. Tylenol does not have an effect on blood glucose levels.

Regarding the need to take a medication with or without food, follow the standard recommendations on the package insert.

Virginia Zamudio Lange, R.N., M.S.N., CDE, is a registered nurse, certified diabetes educator, and a past president of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

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