AskNadia: Does Penicillin Give You High Blood Sugars

Hello Nadia,

 I had a gum infection, and my doctor gave me penicillin shots and pills. After getting the medication administered, my blood sugars have been high.  Is this because of the antibiotic?


Dear Sam,

People with diabetes are at a higher risk for developing gum disease. Especially if they have difficulty maintaining good blood sugar levels. If you smoke, this makes it worse. The National Institute for Health says “Periodontal disease may also make it hard to control your blood glucose (blood sugar)”. The increase in sugar in your mouth supports bacteria which contributes to a gum infection. Healing from infections for people with diabetes with poorly controlled blood sugars takes longer.

People with type 1 diabetes and poorly controlled blood sugars are more likely to have advanced periodontal diseases. People with type 2 diabetes and poorly controlled blood sugars are at a higher risk for bone loss compared to people without diabetes.

The 6th Complication

A gum infection is a complication of diabetes. It is sometimes referred to as the 6th diabetes complications.

Good News About Gum Disease Treatment

Getting treatment as you have for your gum infection will lower your doctor visits and hospitalization costs.  The University of Pennsylvania and dental insurer United Concordia Dental, looked at 1.7 million patient data that spanned over a three-year period. The study revealed, people with diabetes who received treatment for their gum disease reduced their doctor visits by 13 percent, lowered hospitalization by 33 percent and saved $1,814 in medical expenses.

High Blood Sugars from Penicillin

I have not been able to find a study that conclusively points to higher blood sugars from antibiotic treatments.

The Mayo Clinic reports that “Penicillin may cause false test results with some urine sugar tests.  

Dr. Alyson Myers, an endocrinologist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y says “infections can lead to hypo- or hyperglycemia in persons with diabetes.” However his opinion on antibiotics and the impact it has on high or low  blood sugar is inconclusive.


Physical and emotional stress releases hormones that will raise your blood sugar. Research suggests  Penicillin treatment may not be the reason for high blood sugars, it may be the stress of gum disease.

I would give your endocrinologist or the physician that has your complete list of medications a call, and ask them if anyone of the medications or combination of the medications contribute to high blood sugar as a side effect.

You don’t want to tolerate high blood sugars without speaking to your physician who can offer you an immediate solution. When in doubt, always call your prescribing physician.




Effects of Diabetes on the Periodontium

Diabetes and Dentistry

Gum Treatments Can Lower Diabetes Related Medical Costs

Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

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Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professional’s therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.

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About Nadia:

Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview, now Diabetes Health magazine.

Nadia has received 19 nominations for her work as a diabetes advocate.
 She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and other major cable networks. Her publications, medical supply business, and website have been cited, recognized and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, Ann Landers advice column, former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, Entrepreneur magazine, Houston News,, Brand Week, Drug Topics, and many other media outlets.


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