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PEBC: Theme of the Week: What’s in a Diabetes OTC Section?

It may take a new graduate many years to learn about the countless over-the-counter items that a pharmacy may sell. Specifically, there are interesting products marketed towards diabetic patients and here, we list the most useful products to keep in the back of your mind.

--------- 1) Coricidin tablets: For cough and cold symptoms, this product contains dextromethorphan, chloripheniramine and acetaminophen. The unique feature of this product is that it contains no pseudoephedrine, which is a decongestant associated with increased glucose levels and more importantly, increased blood pressure.

--------- 2) Benylin for Diabetes and Robitussin for Diabetes: These cough products contain a combination of dextromethorphan, guaifenesin and menthol specifically for cough. The best part is that there is no pseudoephedrine and no added sucrose sugar for minimal impact on diabetes control.

--------- 3) Capsaicin cream (Zostrix-HP, Lakota): Capsaicin cream provides pain relief for those with diabetic neuropathy in the extremities such as in the hands and feet. Note that it may take weeks for effect and is applied frequently. It also has a burning sensation (derived from capsaicin peppers), so patients should be advised to wash their hands after application.

--------- 4) Dermal Therapy: This cream contains the maximum amount of urea (25%) for an over-the-counter product and is especially recommended for its humectant properties - not only does it seal in moisture, but also attracts moisture. Diabetic patients with dry skin and dry feet will benefit from this product!

--------- 5) Glucose tablets (Dex4): A familiar product that patients carry around as a fast treatment option for hypogylcemia. Each tablet contains 4 grams of sugar, so patients will have to chew 4 tablets to get close to the 15 gram treatment dose. Otherwise, there is a liquid bottle formulation which contains exactly 15 grams.

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