Taking your prescribed medications is an important part of managing your diabetes. Controlling diabetes through medication and lifestyle changes can help you avoid serious complications such as heart disease, blindness, and kidney and nerve damage. However, it can be easy to get off track with your diabetes treatment plan, especially if you have just been diagnosed.

Know your medicines

Knowing your medicines is important to helping you keep track of them. You need to know the name of your medicines and the dosage (how much to take) information. You can find this out by reading your prescription label or talking to your health care provider or pharmacist.

If you have concerns about your medicines

Some people with diabetes stop taking their medicines because they have questions or concerns about them. It is okay to have questions, but don’t let that stop you from improving your health. Talk to your healthcare provider about any questions or concerns you may have so that they can help you feel more comfortable.

Forgetting to take your medicines

Sometimes life gets busy and we forget to take our medicine. Here are some tips to help you remember:

  • Use a pillbox to sort you medicines
  • Set an alarm to remind you when to take your medicines
  • Put your medicines in a place you will see them as a reminder
  • For medicines that you take once a day: If you forget to take your daily morning dose, but remember later that day, go ahead and take the medicine. If you forgot to take your evening dose, but remember before bedtime, go ahead and take the medicine.
  • For medicines that you take two or more times a day: If you forget to take a dose, skip it and go back to your regular schedule. Never take two doses of your medicines at the same time.

Alcohol & Medicines

When mixed with alcohol, some diabetes medicines can cause your blood sugars to get too low. Alcohol can make it hard to control your blood sugar.

Women should drink no more than one drink per day*
Men should drink no more than two drinks per day*

*A drink is 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. wine or 1 oz. spirits.

If you do drink alcohol, check with your healthcare provider first and follow these guidelines to drink safely:

  • Check your blood sugar before, during, and after drinking (and before you go to sleep).
  • Do not binge drink (drinking a lot of alcohol in a short period of time).
  • Do not drink on an empty stomach.
  • Make sure family and friends know the symptoms of low blood sugar and how they should help you treat it.
  • Be prepared—carry glucose tablets or a fast acting snack with you.

Traveling with your medicines

Having diabetes shouldn’t discourage you from traveling but you do have to make sure you’re prepared.

  • Bring enough medicine and supplies for the whole trip and pack them in a cool, dry place.
  • Leave labels on any medicines or supplies.
  • Keep your medicines with you. Do not put them in your bags to be checked. Look at the Transportation Security Administration website for information on traveling with medicines. You will need a note from your healthcare provider.
  • Wear medical identification such as a bracelet or a necklace.
  • If using insulin, carefully look at your insulin bottles when you arrive for crystals, lumps, flakes or cloudiness—if you see any of these, throw them away and do not use the bottle. Use a fresh bottle of insulin instead.