Tylenol & CGM

My son is having surgery next week and will be given hydrocodone for pain relief. I know acetaminophen is contraindicated for the CGM and can make the CGM readings inaccurate. Any idea for how long the readings would be inaccurate after stopping the meds? How inaccurate are we talking about? If it still gives me good trends, I can live with some inaccuracy - we don’t dose off the CGM readings anyway. I would, though, like to be able to use the CGM as a rough monitor and avoid some finger sticks while he is resting if possible.

As a side note, is there some form of a codeine-based pain reliever that does not contain acetaminophen?


I think you can get ibuprofen codeine or vicodin. I don't recall noticing a huge problem w/ the Medtronic sensors and Tylenol #3 a few times I've had it rx'ed.

I've taken NyQuil while using the Seven+ a few times, and it contains acetaminophen. For me, the CGM said that I shot up to 400+ mg/dL for a few hours and then I "dropped" like a brick back to where I started. I was paranoid the first time this happened, so I was doing finger sticks every 20 min or so to reassure myself that I was still in my target range. I haven't taken anything with acetaminophen since switching over to the G4 Platinum, so I don't know how it reacts for me.

I don't think hydrocodone will affect the CGM accuracy, though, since it's not acetaminophen, but I'd be doing extra checks anyway. You can always check with the doctors and make sure, and if it is a concern, you could always ask to have the medication switched.

Good luck on the surgery!

Tylenol (acetaminophen) can mess with the chemistry of the sensor of CGMs (and even meters), so it would be preferable to either take an alternative NSAID or give up the CGM for a while. Acetaminophen has a half life of just a fraction of the day, but will linger in your body for a few days.

I would recommend talking to his doctor and seeing if he can be given something without tylenol or ibuprofen as there are pain medications that do not have either and that work better. I have to use a lot of pain meds due to my pain issues and medical problems and I know they have given me medications without either of those to analgesics.

I have a metronomic CGM and use Hydrocodone every day. It is not a big issue. However, sometimes the cgm will run 10 - 15 points off (high or low) given that the CGM is not much more accurate without the hydrocodone. I suggest trying it, and I am guessing it will be fine, but if not you can switch to a different drug. Good luck with the surgery Here is hoping everything goes wonderful.

Thanks for the information. I didn’t know there was a version of hydrocodone with ibuprofen instead of acetaminophen - I’ll ask the surgeon about it. That might be the best solution for him. If he needs tylenol, I’ll give it to him knowing the CGM might be thrown off. In the scheme of things, him being in as little pain as possible is more important than getting good CGM data - we still finger stick regularly with the CGM, so we’ll have good numbers with which to make decisions either way.

Thanks again for sharing your insight!

My dentist gave me Vicophen (with acetaminophen instead of tylenol).

acetominophen is tylenol, just generic...

Oy, thanks AR - can you tell I'm tired? Substitute ibuprofen in the above ;)

I am on a Dexcom 7 and I get the ??? on mine. It takes about 4-6 hours for mine to clear. Ask your Dr. if there if any thing else that can be used because during that time a quick glance at a CGM is a lot of assurance of blood sugars. :)

I have used vicofen which is codeine and ibuprofen. I'm not sure exactly how inaccurate Tylenol makes the sensors. I believe it is as individual as the person wearing it. So how I react to Tylenol and how your son reacts will be completely different. And how our respective sensors react will be different as well.

Dexcom sensors don't much like acetaminophens :)

He could get oxycodone instead... I have that for my more severe pain, have chronic pain. I hardly ever take it, it has no tylenol and it makes me nauseous, all those drugs cause nauseau for me but the ones without tylenol are worse for me. I think it is percocet without tylenol.