Diabetic status is associated with an increase on oxidative stress markers in humans and animal models. We have investigated the in vitro effects of high concentrations of glucose on the profile of oxidative stress and osmotic fragility of blood from control and diabetic patients; we considered whether its antioxidant properties could afford some protection against glucose-induced osmotic fragility, and whether ebselen could act as an inhibitor of hemoglobin glycation. Raising blood glucose to 5–100 mmol/L resulted in a concentration-dependent increase of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c; P < 0.001) and thiobarbituric acid reactive species (TBA-RS) content (P < 0.004). Non-protein SH groups (NPSH) also increased significantly as the concentration of glucose increased up to 30 mmol/L (P < 0.001). The osmotic fragility was more pronounced in blood of uncontrolled diabetic patients than in these non-diabetic subjects. Ebselen significantly reduced the glucose-induced increase in osmotic fragility and inhibited HbA1c formation (P < 0.0001). These results indicate that blood from patients with uncontrolled diabetes are more sensitive to osmotic shock than from patients with controlled diabetes and control subjects in relation to increased production of free radicals in vivo.