No, your doctor is probably not trying to kill you.
But it certainly might feel like it if you happen to be the victim of a commonly prescribed drug combination that’s been found to cause blood-sugar spikes.
And getting in this drug-side-effect crossfire is not as unlikely as you may think, since experts estimate that anywhere between 500,000 and 1 million people in the United States alone were on the two-drug combo at one time.
Stanford University researchers accidentally made the shocking discovery when they were poring over the data from the FDA’s adverse-event-reporting database (AERS) in combination with the electronic medical records from three medical institutions.
This drug combo linked to blood sugar spikes
Unexpectedly, they found that a significant number of patients who were on the common antidepressant Paxil along with the common cholesterol-lowering drug Pravachol ((pravastatin) had out-of-the-blue jumps in their blood-glucose levels.
And the really frightening part is that they very well may not have even known it. Not a single report of the unusual levels was found in the AERS. It wasn’t until the researchers bumped the AERS data up against the electronic medical records that the relationship really reared its ugly head.
They found that 135 nondiabetic patients on the dangerous drug combo had an average increase in their blood-glucose levels of 19 mg/dl.
Disturbingly, that’s more than enough of a jump to push a nondiabetic person right on over into the diabetes zone.
And what about the diabetics? What about those people for whom maintaining blood-sugar control is critical?
Diabetics blood sugar shot up 48 mg/dl!
The researchers were able to identify 104 of them on the two drugs who had on average a shocking spike of 48 mg/dl!
And just in case there were any doubts about the connection between the drug combination and the jumps in levels the Stanford scientists took their study one step further.
They tested the drugs individually and then in combination on prediabetic lab mice. They saw a dramatic spike in the sugar levels of the mice that were given both Paxil and Pravachol together—from around 128 mg/dl to a staggering 193 mg/dl.
If you happen to be on these two drugs… especially if you’re diabetic… run—don’t walk—to your doctor’s office and ask him about getting off them ASAP.
Natural alternatives like vitamin D, fish oil, and exercise are much better choices.
The bottom line is your goal should be to get off them regardless of their effects on your blood-sugar level.
“Detecting Drug Interactions From Adverse-Event Reports: Interaction Between Paroxetine and Pravastatin Increases Blood Glucose Levels,” Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2011); advance online publication 25 May 2011. doi:10.1038/clpt.2011.83
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