Sulfonylureas

SulfonylureasSulfonylurea is a drug group that was created in 1955. It is used for people with Type 2 Diabetes. Sulfonylureas help beta cells produce more insulin. Unfortunately people with Type 1 Diabetes cannot use Sulfonylureas because it will not work. It also will not work with people who have Type 2 Diabetes, but their beta cells no longer produce insulin. This loss can be found in people who have had Type 2 Diabetes for 6 to 15 years. If the beta cells do produce insulin, Sulfonylureas along with the rapid insulin releasers Prandin and Starlix can stimulate the production.

The first generation Sulfonylureas include Orinase (tolbutamide), Tolinase (tolazamide), and Diabinese (chlorpropamide). These medicines are good for lowering blood sugar, but have a disappointing problem. They can be dislodged by other medications because they bind to proteins found in blood, which the other medicines also do. If this occurs, they will not have a good affect and cause low blood sugar. It is known that first generation Sulfonylureas is becoming less common because the second generation versions are stronger and have less of a side-effect.

There is also second and third generation Sulfonylureas. The second generation includes Glucotrol, Micronase, Diabeta, and Glynase. The third generation consists of Amaryl. They are ideal for people who use other medications because these will not bind which will less likely cause blood sugar to lower.

Sulfonylureas are the most effective when taking routinely every day. Glyburide and Glipizide are often taken twice a day because they are shorter-acting versions. They are usually taken half before breakfast and half before dinner. Long-lasting versions can be taken once a day instead of twice. Besides helping the production of insulin, Amaryl is also less likely to cause low blood sugars than other Sulfonylureas.


There are side-effects when taking a sulfonylurea. Sulfonylureas can induce Hypoglycemia if the insulin production is too much. If this were to happen it can be treated by a sugary food. If it turns into a hypoglycemic coma, parenteral, glucagon and intravenous dextrose is administered by injecting into the arm or muscle. A good way to prevent this from happening is by finding the lowest dosage possible that will handle your glucose levels correctly.

Just like insulin, Sulfonylureas can cause weight gain. Other side-effects include headaches, and upset stomachs. Second generation Sulfonylureas have a greater chance of weight gain in people who use them, but they do not have much else when it comes to other side-effects. They do happen to cost more money, though. It is also important to know that if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant in the future, Sulfonylureas are not used during pregnancy because of the risk of causing birth defects.

The greatest risk when starting a sulfonylurea is having a low blood sugar level. It is important to check your blood sugar levels often especially when exercising, before meals, and other activities. After a month or two of using Sulfonylureas, you will be more knowledgeable on how your body acts with it. Hopefully Sulfonylureas will benefit you and make your life more pleasant.