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Marilyn Csernus

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Medications & Diabetes

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Type 2 Diabetes Medications: Sulfonylureas

One class of diabetes medications is the sulfonylureas (sul-fah-nil-yoo-REE-ahs).

How Do Sulfonylureas Work?

Sulfonylureas work by stimulating insulin secretion in the pancreas and helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Sulfonylureas may also stop your liver from releasing stored glucose into your blood. All of these actions help sulfonylureas lower blood sugar.

What Are Some Generic Names For Sulfonylureas?

Generic names for sulfonylureas include tolazamide (tole-AZ-a-mide), glimepiride (gly-MEH-per-ide), glyburide (GLY-buh-ride), chlorpropamide (klor-PROH-pah-mide), acetohexamide (a-see-toh-HEX-uh-myde), Glipizide (GLIH-pih-zide), and tolbutamide (tohl-BYOO-tah-mide).

What Are Some Brand Names For Sulfonylureas?

Some brand names for sulfonylureas include Amaryl ®, DiaBeta ®, Glynase ®, Micronase ®, Diabinese ®, Dymelor ®, Gulcotrol ®, Orinase ®, and Tolinase ®.

How Many Times A Day Should You Take Sulfonylureas?

Your doctor may prescribe sulfonylureas once or twice a day depending on the specific medication. If taken once a day, sulfonylureas should be taken just before breakfast. If taken twice a day, sulfonylureas are usually taken right before breakfast and right before supper.

What Are Some Possible Side Effects of Sulfonylureas?

Sulfonylureas may cause indigestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, weight gain, skin rash, itching, or hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). The risk of hypoglycemia increases when you drink alcohol, are very active for a prolonged period, and/or eat less food or fewer calories. You should not take sulfonylureas if you are pregnant, have allergies to sulfa drugs or have liver or kidney disease.

This handout contains general information on diabetes medication. It is not intended to replace medical advice. It is important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your dosage and any other questions that you may have.

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