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May 31, 2003


Question from :

P> Should my sister take her insulin and other medications in the morning before she has fasting blood tests done like a lipid profile? What if the person is taking pills for diabetes, instead of insulin, should they take them in the morning before the test is done?


It is always a dilemma as to what to do with medications before blood tests that require fasting (this refers to not eating anything for the previous 10-12 hours before the test). Because diabetes is associated with taking medications that lower your blood sugar, you do not want to lower the sugar too much so as to cause a dangerously low level.

I recommend to my patients that they do not plan to fast prior to routine morning clinic appointments. If you need to have a fasting lipid panel done, there are several options. You can have the test drawn early in the morning and eat after the test. You can bring your medications, whether it is insulin or pills, and take them at the appropriate time with the meal. I would not take medications, wait for hours before testing, and hope the sugars do okay. This is cause for concern and could potentiate a seriously low sugar. For those individuals who work, consider having your blood drawn on a Saturday morning, if this is an option.


[Editor’s comment: Definitely do not take the medications at home without food, then drive yourself to the lab!