Diabetes alcohol


Diabetes and alcohol

A very bad decision in combination with some medicine. Read more in this article.

There is over a million American suffering from diabetes. The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes, a hetereogenous disorder which includes the body’s resistance to insulin, a defect in the body’s inability to secret insulin and an increase in the production of glucose in the liver.

Typical treatment of type 2 diabetes is being on a diabetic diet plan which includes weight loss, exercising and monitoring what foods are eaten. But sometimes medications are needed to bring blood glucose levels down.

Types of Medication Available

Medications that are sold are classified in five major categories: sulfonylureas, meglitinides, biguanides, thiazolidinediones and alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. Also, within the last few years, newer medications approved by the FDA have been introduced.


Metformin (which is known by its brand name Glucophage) is a biguanide. Biguanides work differently from the previous two as it lowers blood glucose levels by decreasing the amount of glucose produced by the liver and also makes the tissue in the muscle more sensitive to insulin to allow for glucose to be absorbed. Biguanides can be take two times a day. Side-effects can include diarrhea when not taken with food and also in rare cases, lactic acidosis.


This medication stimulates the beta cells for insulin production. Repaglinide (also known by its brand name Prandin) and nateglinide (Starlix) are meglitinides and are taken before each three meals. Because it stimulates the release of insulin, there is a chance of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels).


This pill stimulates the beta cells in the pancreas to release more insulin. This is an older type of medication that has been used since the 1950’s and Chlorpropamide (which is also known as Diabinese) is the only first generation form of Sulfonylureas still in use today. Second generation drugs such as glipizide (also known as Glucotrol and Glucotrol XL), glyburide (Micronase, Glynase and Diabeta) and glimepiride (Amaryl) are taken one or two times before meals.

Each of these Sulfonylureas medications have similar effects on blood glucose levels but they differ in side effects and how often they are taken. Alcohol taken with some sulfonylureas medications are known to cause vomiting, flushing or some type of sickness. Also known to stop working after usage after a few years.


This medication helps insulin work better in the muscle and fat and reduce glucose production in the liver. Medication used can include Rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (ACTOS). Before, people used to take troglitazone (Rezuline) but was recently taken off the market after a small number of people had serious liver problems. Also, the FDA issued a safety alert in May 2007 that taking the medication Avandia may lead to a possibility of heart attacks or fatal cardiovascular events.

Alpha-glucosidase Inhibitors

This medication is known to help lower the blood glucose levels delaying the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose during digestion, thus allowing blood glucose levels from peaking. Medication used is Acarbose (Precose) or Meglitol (Glyset). Side effects can include gas or diarrhea.

Newer Medications for Type-2 Diabetics

There are new medications available such as DPP-4 Inhibitors which block the enzyme DPP-4 and deactivates a protein GLP-1 which allows insulin to circulate in the blood and helps lower blood glucose levels. Another medication is Incretin Mimetics such as exenatide (Byetta) which helps the body make more insulin and Antihyperglycemic Synthetic Analogs such as pramlintide acetate (Symlin) which is used with insulin for tighter blood glucose control.

It is important for any diabetic to research the positives and negative side effects of these medications. With advances in technology, new medications are being introduced to treat type-2 diabetes. Contact your physician if you have any questions.


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