While continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) can provide real-time data and alerts to help people with diabetes make informed decisions about their health, it has been found that certain common medications can interfere with a device’s accuracy and effectiveness.
Some prescription and over-the-counter medications cause reactions in the interstitial fluid, the place just underneath the skin’s surface where CGMs measure blood glucose levels.
Depending on what model of CGM you’re using, here is what to watch out for.
- Dexcom: more than the maximum dose (over 1 gram every six hours in adults) of Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can affect the accuracy of Dexcom G4 CGM. Dexcom also does not recommend using the Dexcom G6 CGM system with a cancer and sickle cell anemia drug called hydroxyurea.
- Abbott: extremely high doses of Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) – such as those found in certain supplements or cold medications like Airborne and Emergen-C – can potentially affect the accuracy of the Freestyle Libre 2. Drugs that contain salicylates – like aspirin – have also been associated with potential CGM interference of the FreeStyle Libre 14 day flash glucose monitoring system.
It is important to note that not everyone will experience interference with their CGMs while taking these or other medications. Nevertheless, it is advisable to be aware of any potential interactions with the CGM you are using and take any necessary precautions to ensure accurate glucose monitoring.
It is recommended to carefully read your device’s safety labels and speak with your healthcare provider if you have questions about your CGM. If you are taking any of the medications mentioned, consider double-checking with a fingerstick glucose meter or discussing alternatives with your healthcare provider.
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