Q. I read a question in your column from a reader who developed diabetes after taking a water pill for high blood pressure. I think it was furosemide. He wondered if there was a connection between the drug and the onset of diabetes.
Last year I was prescribed the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) for mildly elevated blood pressure. Within three months I tested positive for diabetes.
Since diabetes runs in my family, my doctor was monitoring my blood sugar regularly. That’s how we know the diabetes wasn’t simply overlooked earlier. What can you tell me about a connection between diuretics and diabetes?
A. Elevated blood sugar is a rarely-mentioned side effect of many medications, including diuretics like furosemide and HCTZ, statin-type cholesterol-lowering drugs and steroids such as prednisone. A different approach to blood pressure control might solve your problem.
We are sending you our brand new Guide to Diabetes, with a longer list of drugs that may elevate blood sugar. It also contains a discussion of drugs and non-drug approaches to managing this condition.