Could Acetaminophen Cause Falsely Elevated Glucose Readings?
While the FDA still prefers finger-stick glucose monitor results over CGM results when making treatment decisions, the development of closed-loop artificial pancreas systems which use CGM readings to automatically administer doses of insulin make understanding how acetaminophen affects these readings a priority.
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To further explore this relationship, researchers followed 40 patients (mean age 28.5 years) with type 1 diabetes who were given 1000 mg of acetaminophen and used finger-stick monitors to check their blood glucose levels at .5, 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 hours. These results were compared to CGM readings from approximately the same time frames.
Overall, readings from the finger-stick and CGM meters were significantly different over the 8-hour timeframe. Specifically, 3 patients with blood glucose values of less than 70 mg/dL had significantly higher CGM readings (63 vs 138 mg/dL, 46 vs 175 mg/dL, and 51 vs 184 mg/dL) and 10 patients saw CGM readings over 180 mg/dL when their true glucose levels were more than 100 mg/dL lower.
The effect was greatest at 2 hours after ingestion of the acetaminophen and diminished over the 8 hour period.
The study was published in Diabetes Care.
Maahs DM, DeSalvo D, Pyle L, et al. Effect of acetaminophen on cgm glucose in an outpatient setting. Diabetes Care. August 2015 [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.2337/dc15-1096.