Can I Take it? – By Helen May
Recently, my boyfriend had a cold. As he cannot swallow tablets, I bought him some medicine. Thankfully, this worked for him: he could breath again, could sleep again and he was soon back to his usual self.
I’m not sure whether it is my engineering background or I whether I am normally too lazy. But I treat any over-the-counter medication as suitable for anyone. However, during a quiet few minutes, I found myself reading the notes that came in the box of this medicine. I spotted two points referring to diabetes:
“Do not use this medicine if… you have diabetes”
“Each 5ml of this medicine contains 3.5g of sucrose…This should be taken into account in patients with diabetes mellitus”
This looks confusing: I am not allowed to take this medicine but, if I do, I need to consider the 3.5g of sucrose. Can I take it or not?
Out of curiosity, I asked a friendly pharmacist for his advice. He gave two reasons reasons why the decongestant may not be suitable for people with diabetes: if you have diabetes you may have high blood pressure and the medicine should not be taken if you have high blood pressure; the medicine contains sugar which may not be good for some people with diabetes. The first point is covered by the statement “Do not take this medicine if … you have high blood pressure” and I know from personal experience that diabetes does not necessarily mean high blood pressure. And the second point is covered by the statement to take the sucrose into account.
I’m not sure I will ever find out whether I can take this medicine and hope I will never need to. However, I find it frustrating that the instructions contradict themselves. I hope this is an isolated case and not an indication that pharmaceutical companies do not understand diabetes… or any other medical condition.