6 Reasons Why You Always Need to Carry Glucose Tabs

Patient Expert
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Many people who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk of hypoglycemia. Glucose tabs can help with that. (All images credit: Thinkstock)

They are the most convenient treatment

For years the standard list included a glass of orange juice, a cola drink, or raisins. But you’ve got to be prepared at all times for a hypo emergency, and nothing compares in convenience to glucose tabs. You can’t count on what you left back in your car, home, or office. While glucose gels and liquids are similar to the tabs, they take more room, so you aren’t likely to have one of them on you.

They work fastest

Some people used to rely on some sugar cubes or Life Savers to treat a hypo. But glucose tabs work faster than anything else. They are essentially nothing but glucose with a bit of flavoring and preservatives. Glucose is the sugar that our bodies use the fastest. The sugar of sugar cubes and Life Savers as well as of orange juice or cola is the slower acting sucrose.

They are the most economical

Glucose tabs are easily the least expensive way to deal with a hypo. You can buy some store brands of them for as little as 8 cents each. You start treating an episode with three or four tabs depending on the brand. The “Rule of 15” is to get a total of 15 grams of glucose when you go low. Then you wait 15 minutes and if necessary take 15 more grams of glucose.

They aren't candy

Glucose tabs may look like candy, but they certainly don't taste as good. Actually, that’s intentional. They don’t taste bad, but they are medicine. You don’t want to continually eat them, and not have them when you need them.

They are a precise amount

Glucose tabs give us a controlled and measured amount of glucose. Just remember “the rule of 15” mentioned in a previous slide. While treating the hypo, you want to avoid taking too much sugar, which can send your level in too high. That’s not good either.

They are readily available

Essentially all drug stores and many websites offer glucose tabs. They are available over-the-counter without a prescription.

Be prepared

Don’t wait until it’s too late to get one of these great products. When your blood glucose levels drops dangerously low, you need to act fast. So keep these tabs next to your bed, in your car, and in your purse or briefcase. But if someone loses consciousness, never give that person anything to eat or drink. Instead, give him or her a glucagon injection or immediately get that person to the nearest ER.