Certain veterinary medications for other conditions may seriously affect diabetic patients. Always check with your nurse before taking. This list is provided because some of these medications don't mention their side effects on diabetics in their literature.

Many drugs used in veterinary medicine are also used in human medicine under a differently-trademarked name. Learning the human pharma name (if applicable) or generic name of the drug (same in veterinary & human medicine) can often give you additional information regarding possible side effects and how the drug may affect patients with diabetes. Human pharma drugs provide this information--for some reason, veterinary drugs don't always.

If you are considering alternative or herbal medicine for your diabetic pet, see also Alternative medication warnings.

Warning: Can Be Fatal to Diabetics and Non-DiabeticsEdit

  • Xylitol, a common artificial sweetener, lowers blood sugar dangerously in dogs and sometimes humans, possibly also cats. Some prescription and over-the counter medications, including vitamins and supplements which are made for human use contain Xylitol. Reading labels thoroughly and asking your vet can prevent needless tragedies.

Warnings: May raise blood glucose levelsEdit

Heartworm and flea/tick prevention real good infoEdit

Heartworm [8][9] is a global problem, with areas on all continents except Antarctica affected and is a disease that is far easier to prevent than to cure. It can affect both cats and dogs[10][11][12][13].

Should your pet be affected by this, a talk with your vet is in order. Increasing insulin doses to counter this temporary situation may cause hypoglycemia once the systemic medication level has lowered.

The phenomenon also does not mean your pet has ceased to respond to the insulin you currently use. Since there are no formal label warnings, he/she needs to be aware that there are temporary side effects for these drugs which apply to some diabetics.

  • The same is true for flea and tick removal products, both professional and over the counter; they are also capable of producing this unwanted effect after use in some diabetic animals.

Other MedicationsEdit


Adrenal gland: Adrenalin or epinephrine is produced by the medulla, or center (shown at left). Cortisol, or cortisone is produced by the outer, or cortex (shown at right).

Epinephrine, or adrenalin[14], is a hormone present in all of us; most medical literature refers to it simply as the "fight or flight" hormone. It is what gives one that "extra boost" when needed to either escape danger or stand one's ground.

A common medical use of epinephrine is to combat severe allergic/asthmatic reactions. Many people with life-threatening reactions to things like bee stings, etc., are never without their EpiPen. It's a pre-loaded injection of epinephrine to be used in an emergency.

When someone with diabetes needs treatment with epinephrine, it counters the effects of the insulin and hyperglycemia is the result[15][16].

Medication name Uses
allergic/asthmatic reactions
Nicotinic Acid
lowering cholesterol
Epiphen (UK)[21]
Dilantin/Dilantin with Phenobarbital[22]
Epilepsy and other
nervous system disorders
Thyroid medications[23][24]
Hormone replacement therapy
thyroid disorders
Carbamazepine, Atretol,
Carbatrol, Epitol
Equetro, Tegretol
many generic and brand names at links[27][28]
Various uses

Also see below under diuretics/heart medications for some diuretics which can cause hyperglycemia.

Contraindicated: May complicate or even promote diabetesEdit

Urinary IncontinenceEdit

Proin, Cystolamine, Propalin, PPA-RD, phenylpropanolamine[29]


"Do not use in animals with glaucoma, enlarged prostate, diabetes mellitus[30], heart problems or high blood pressure."

"Can interfere with insulin dosage for diabetic dogs causing both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia."

"Talk to your doctor/ vet if you have diabetes and you notice changes in blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia/ hyperglycemia) during therapy with acetaminophen/brompheniramine/phenylpropanolamine[31]."

"Because of its effects in elevating heart rate and blood pressure, phenylpropanolamine should not be used in patients with heart disease or pre-existing high blood pressure. This includes patients with glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes mellitus[32] as well as those with certain types of cardiovascular disease."


  • Oral or injected steroids[33][34]such as cortisol are known to raise blood sugar[35] and even sometimes cause diabetes[36]. Talk to your vet -- sometimes steroids are still the best (or only) treatment for a condition and can be compensated for with known diabetes.
    Inhaled steroids for asthma may be tolerated by diabetics better than oral or injected. Using steroids--orally, injected or even topically (applied to the skin as an ointment or cream)--can elevate blood glucose levels. During treatment and for a period after treatment with steroids ends, higher doses of insulin may be necessary[37][38].
  • More[39] brand names for corticosteroids are :
  • Prednisone[40]
  • Decadron
  • Kenalog

One brand name for injectable prednisone (methylprednisolone[41]) is Depo-Medrol[42].

There is another class of steroids in need of mention here. They are called anabolic steroids, and are related to the male sex hormone, testosterone[43]. Their main uses are for medically supervised weight gain, [44]inappetance, (most commonly Winstrol/Stanozolol),[45], in treatment of some forms of anemia and cancer[46].

Anabolic Steroid name Effects
Winstrol, Stanozolol[47][48] insulin dose
may need adjustment
Anadrol-50, Anapolon-50,
insulin dose
may need adjustment
Durabolin-50, Hybolin Decanoate,
Hybolin Improved, Durabolin-50,
Kabolin, Nandrolone[51]
insulin dose
may need adjustment
Oxandrin, Oxandrolone[52] insulin dose
may need adjustment

Many generic and brand name steroid medications, some with photo label links, are found on the Steroids page.


  • The drug Ovaban (megestrol acetate)[53] Ovarid (UK)[54] (progestin--female hormone) is approved for use in dogs to end heat cycles. It has also been prescribed for behavioral problems in both dogs and cats, since it is the opposite of testosterone (male hormone).
    The drug has also been prescribed for some feline skin conditions. Its use with cats has been proven to cause diabetes much of the time; they are also at risk for developing Addison's disease as a result of the drug [55].
    It is contraindicated for use in dogs with diabetes.

These types of hormones, when prescribed for diabetics, can be "double problems". The progestin-type hormones themselves, by nature[56], raise blood glucose; use of them can also mean the body may begin producing excess growth hormones, which causes insulin resistance.


The producer of Tequin, Bristol-Meyers Squibb[57], indicated on May 1, 2006, that it discontinued the manufacturing and distribution of Tequin.

Antiarrhythmics/Heart/High Blood PressureEdit

  • Verapamil, (human brand names: Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan), is used to treat irregular heartbeats and hypertension (high blood pressure)[58].
    Despite there being no information at the preceding link regarding diabetes, this WSAVA 2003 presentation[59] says it has serious hyperglycemic effects in dogs. The conclusion is that it should NOT be used for diabetics, because of its effects on blood sugar levels, possibly inducing hyperglycemic shock.
    The drug is in the calcium-channel blocker class[60]

Warnings: May have other adverse side effectsEdit


Our pets may be prescribed antibiotics for various reasons, such as a dental procedure or a urinary tract infection.

  • A common full-spectrum antibiotic given for dental procedures is Clavamox[61], which is available in both tablet[62] and liquid[63] form. The liquid form is sweet, but the sweetness is from an artificial sweetener and should not affect blood glucose. The pill can be crushed and added to wet food if the animal is difficult to pill. Some animals, like some humans, get diarrhea on antibiotics. This can be minimized by the concurrent administration of a probiotic like Culturelle[64], which is available at vitamin stores. Consult with your veterinarian on the appropriate amount of probotic for your animal. Some caregivers report higher blood glucose levels while their pet is on antibiotics.

Antibiotic name Effects
Engemycin (UK)[70]
low blood sugar
low blood sugar
false urine glucose test results[74]

  • Another class of drugs used to fight various infections are called Sulfa Drugs[75][76][77]. They are often used similarly to antibiotics for this purpose. Sulfa[78] drugs can cause hypoglycemia, even in those without diabetes. They are also capable of altering urine glucose test results[79].

Sulfa drug name Effects
Chanoprim (UK)[81]
Duphatrim (UK)[82]
Tribrissen (UK)[83]
Trinacol (UK)[84]

more names at link[89]

low blood sugar
false urine glucose test results[91]

Diuretics/Heart MedicationsEdit

  • Heart drug Digoxin and diuretic furosemide (both have many other brand names-table and links below), can interact with insulin[92].
  • Though its primary use is for treatment of diabetes, insulin[93] is useful to both people and pets suffering from an overdose of potassium--too much of it in the blood. The medical term for this is hyperkalemia[94]. Potassium ions enter the cells through glucose--insulin helps bring this life-saving change about.
  • Furosemide and other diuretics shown in table below, belong to a class of directics known as loop diuretics[95]. This type of medication can cause hyperglycemia for those with diabetes.

Both digoxin and furosemide drain potassium from the system, along with the excess fluids they are prescribed to eliminate. Not all diuretics have this potassium-robbing action; those which don't are known as potassium-sparing diuretics. These drugs in combination with also necessary insulin can bring about a lower than normal potassium level known as hypokalemia[96][97][98].

The problem can be prevented or solved by a prescription for a potassium supplement (K-Dur is just one brand name).

Drug name Effects
Dimazon (UK)[101]
Frusecare (UK)[102]
Frusedale (UK)[103]
other brand names[104]
high blood sugar
thiazide based
many at links[109][110]
high blood sugar
high blood sugar

  • Hypertension drugs known generically as Diazoxide[112] (Brand names: Hyperstat, Proglycem) are used not only for cases of high blood pressure, but also for treating non-diabetic hypoglycemia. This class of medication will raise blood glucose levels.

Beta-blocker name[113][114] Effects
Propanolol,[115] Inderal[116]
acebutolol, Sectral
atenolol, Tenormin
betaxolol, Kerlone
biprosolol, Zebeta
carteolol, Cartrol
labetalol, Normodyne
metoprolol, Lopressor
nadolol, Corgard
oxprenolol, Trasicor
penbutolol, Levatol
pindolol, Visken
sotalol, Sotacor
timolol, Blocadren[117]
blocks normal hypoglycemia symptoms
hypoglycemia events may last longer
may increase hyperglycemia risk[118].
can cause changes in
blood glucose levels

  • Propanolol AKA Inderal is a drug used to fight hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease in people. The drug belongs to the beta-blocker class. They work by blocking beta receptors in the heart for noradrenaline and adrenaline. Anyone with diabetes using beta-blockers[121] needs to be especially careful, because they also can block some of the normal symptoms of hypoglycemia and may make a hypoglycemic episode last longer[122]. Beta blockers increase the risk of hyperglycemia in those with diabetes.
  • Methyldopa[123], brand name Aldoril, used in treating hypertension. can lower blood glucose levels.
  • Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Veralan) See Contraindications above for Antiarrthymics/Heart/High Blood Pressure. Causes hyperglycemia in dogs--can possibly precipitate a hyperglycemic crisis in canine diabetics.

Antidepressants and Other Behavior-Modifying DrugsEdit

Many of the drugs commonly used for people are used for the same purposes in pets[124]. The following medications have been cited as having possible side effects in persons with diabetes:

Drug name Effects
Prozac, Sarafem
Fluoxetine, Reconcile[125][126]
lowering blood glucose[127]
change in insulin needs[128]
Carbamazepine, Atretol
Carbatrol, Epitol
Equetro, Carbamaz
increased urine glucose levels[129]
Lithium, Eskalith
may either strengthen
or weaken
the effects of insulin[130]
many generic/brand names
at link[131]
may reduce the blood-glucose
lowering effect of insulin[132].
may cause hyperglycemia, glycosuria (glucose in urine),
polyuria,[134]diabetes mellitus[135].
Zoloft/Sertraline[136] may cause hypoglycemia, hypoglycemia reaction,
Paxil/Paroxetine[137] may cause diabetes mellitus,
Elavil/Amitriptyline[138] elevation or lowering of
blood glucose levels[139].
Haldol/Haloperidol[140] elevation or lowering of
blood glucose levels
hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia.


hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia
glycosuria (glucose in urine).
Navane/Thiothixene[143] hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia
glycosuria (glucose in urine).
Risperdal/Risperidone[144] polyuria, polydipsia,
diabetes mellitus.

Can Lower Blood GlucoseEdit

Drug name Uses
Phenylbutazone[145][146], Butazolidin
arthritis/pain relief
Chlofibrate[148], Atromid-S high cholesterol levels
Aspirin[149][150] various pain/discomfort
prevention of blood clots
Dimethyl Sulfoxide, DMSO
Domoso, Synotic
skin ulcers/wounds/burns,various other uses

  • Alcohol[153] can strengthen the blood glucose-lowering effects of insulin. Though our pets don't use alcohol as people do, there are medications and supplements both by prescription and OTC, which contain alcohol as part of their ingredients[154]. Reading labels carefully and being cautious when using meds containing alcohol can prevent possible hypos.
  • Metoclopramide, aka Reglan, Clopra, Maxolon, Octamide, Reclomide is used for GI problems and also to prevent vomiting. "Metoclopramide may accelerate food absorption and thereby alter insulin doses and/or timing of insulin effects.[155]"

For antibotics and sulfa drugs which lower blood glucose, see Antibiotics section above.

All heart/hypertension/diuretics, some of which do lower blood glucose levels are also listed above in their own section.


False Testing Results-Urine GlucoseEdit

See Urine testing stix, Reading Results for examples of ketodiastix and ketostix color charts.

Possible False Urine Glucose Test Results

Antibiotic[156]/Sulfa[157][158][159] drug name Effects
cephalexin, Keflex[160]
Cephorum (UK),[161]Rilexine[162]
Cefpodoxime Proxetil/Simplicef[165]Cefotaxime/Claforan[166]
other cephalosporin antibiotics[167]
less than accurate
(false negatives & positives)
urine glucose test results[170]
Gantrisin, Septra
Bactrim, Albon[171]
Chanoprim (UK)[172]
Duphatrim (UK)[173]
Tribrissen (UK)[174]
Trinacol (UK)[175]
more names at link[176]
can alter urine glucose
test results[177][178]
can produce false
urine glucose test results[181].
Doryx, Doxy 100
Monodox, Vibramycin
Vibra-Tabs, Ronaxan (UK) [185]
Doxyseptin (UK)[186]
false urine glucose test results[187]
Penicillin and its derivatives
penicillin G
other names at links[188][189]
can produce false positive
urine glucose test results[190].

Possible False Urine Glucose Test Results
Other Drugs


[191] (brand names)

Common use:
Pain reliever.


Common use:
Pain reliever.
False positives possible (With urine test brand name Clinitest.)
False negatives possible (With urine test brand names Clinistix or TesTape.)
Pepto-Bismol, etc.[193]
Common use:
False positives possible (With urine test brand name Clinitest.)
False negatives possible (With urine test brand names Clinistix or TesTape.)
Pyridium, Geridium, Pyridiate, or Urogesic
Common use:
Urinary tract infections.
False positives possible (With urine test brand name TesTape.)
Delayed reactions possible (With urine test brand names Clinistix or TesTape.)[194]

[195] (brand names)

Common uses:
Seizures, anxiety, muscle relaxant, appetite stimulant.
(With urine tests brand names Diastix and Clinistix.)

Vitamin C Supplements[196][197]

Possible False Test Results

Blood Chemistry Decreased blood glucose and cholesterol test levels.
Urine Testing False high urine glucose test results

(With urine test brand name Clinitest)[198].

Urine Testing False negative urine glucose test results

(With urine test brand name Clinistix)[199].

Urine Testing False negative urine glucose test results

With other urine test brand name strips[200].

Possible False Urine Glucose Test Results-Other Reasons

Moderate Ketones


Negative if glucose is only slightly elevated.
Increased Urine Specific Gravity


Decreased Temperature


Negative-refrigerated samples.
Very Concentrated Urine Negative[204].
Expired Test Strips


Old Urine Sample


Bacterial metabolism of urine at room temperatures for extended periods.
Contaminated Sample


Positive with oxidant contamination such as bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
Feline Urinary Obstruction



If your pet is taking any type of vitamin supplements, it should be noted on his or her medical records. Knowing that he/she is using them means being able to factor them into interpretations of test results.

False Testing Results-Urine KetonesEdit

Possible False Urine Ketone Test Results
Drugs and Supplements

Valproic Acid (brand names)
Depakene, Depakote, Divalproex Sodium[210]
Common use:
Treatment of epilepsy.
Cefixime/Suprax[211] Positive with nitroprusside-based urine testing.
Common use:
Levadopa Metabolites[212] Positive with high concentrations[213].
Tricyclic Ring Compounds[214][215] Positive.
Common use:
Treatment of depression.
other drugs with
free sulfhydryl groups[216]
Captopril Common use:
(high blood pressure),
various heart conditions,
preserving kidney function
in diabetic nephropathy[217].
Pyridium, Geridium, Pyridiate, or Urogesic[218][219].
Common use:
Urinary tract infections.
Glucocorticoids/Steroids[220] Positive.
Common use:
Allergies, replacement therapy, others.
Vitamin C Supplements[221] Negative.

Possible False Urine Ketone Test Results-Other Reasons

Pigmented Urine


Positive-Any other color except yellow or clear[223].
May be the result of other disease processes.


lack of fluids can concentrate ketones
Old Urine Sample


Negative-ketones can evaporate rapidly.

Further readingEdit




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