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A great question about Bezide

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This week I received an email question from a reader. It was such a thoughtful question I thought I would share it with everyone:

“Dear Dr. …I am asking for some information on Bezide. …According to one Internet source, diabetes is a side effect of Bezide… I asked about it and was told it is a diuretic, nothing else…is there a causal relationship between Bezide and diabetes? Is there a better substitute?…”{{more}}

So, let’s start first with some information about Bezide in general. Bezide belongs to a group of medications called Thiazide diuretics. They are most often used as blood pressure medications, as Bezide is in St Vincent. For many people, they work wonderfully to help or completely control blood pressure.

Now, regarding this issue of causing diabetes: this is a sticky question. There is definitely research evidence that this group of medications called Thiazides can raise blood sugars. This is now a well-accepted side effect. They do not, however, tend to raise blood sugars A LOT. This means that the people who are at risk for having diabetes develop as a side effect when they get treated with Thiazides would be those who have prediabetes (borderline) in the first place, or those people who otherwise have a strong tendency towards developing diabetes.

Which leads us into the second part of the question about there being alternatives. Yes, there are alternatives! There are many various drugs available to treat high blood pressure; so if Bezide, for some reason or another, is not thought to be the best for you, then your medical team needs to seek out another. Bezide is a popular choice because it is inexpensive and has a great track record for treating high blood pressure. It does have side effects like ANY medications (and that includes herbal medications). During my trips to St Vincent with our medical mission team, the other two blood pressure agents I see prescribed include Atenolol (or a related one) and Lisinopril (or a related one). Outside of those, there are often even more choices you can discuss with your doctor or nurse.

This is my final thought about our dear reader’s concerns about Bezide: if you know you have borderline diabetes or have a very strong risk for it (are overweight, have strong family history etc), then you should discuss with your doctor if an alternative can be used to treat your blood pressure, because there is a definite chance that taking Bezide could push you over that line into diabetes. Now, whether or not there is another choice, you should still work on decreasing your risk of diabetes. If your doctor decides with you that Bezide is the best option, then you need to be sure to keep an eye on your blood sugars, so that if they DO start to rise, you can start treatment (and maybe stop the Bezide and switch to something else then).

Thanks for the questions! Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD endodocs@endocrinehelp.com

Medical Director Endocrine Care Group

www.endocrinehelp.com

Tel: 843-798-4227

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