Sulfonylureas for Type 2 Diabetes
Medication used to control type 2 diabetes
Sulfonylureas were created in the late 1940s, and they were the first medication developed to treat diabetes.
How they work: Sulfonylureas bring the blood glucose level down by increasing the amount of insulin produced by your beta cells (located in the pancreas).
If you’re on a sulfonylurea, it is recommended to avoid skipping meals. That’s because the medication causes your beta cells to produce insulin all day long. If you skip meals, your blood glucose level may go too low (hypoglycemia
). You need to stick with a meal schedule—and eat even if you aren’t hungry—to ensure that the insulin has enough glucose to process throughout the day.
Because you have to eat even if you’re not hungry when you’re taking a sulfonylurea, you may gain weight. If your blood glucose levels are too low even if you eat regular meals, talk to your healthcare professional about adjusting your medication.
Examples of sulfonylureas:
- Glimepiride (Amaryl)
- Glyburide (DiaBeta; Micronase)
- Glipizide (Glucotrol)
- American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2009. Diabetes Care. 2009;32:S13-61.
- Becker G. Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the newly Diagnosed. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Marlowe & Company; 2007.
- McCulloch D. Patient information: Diabetes type 2: Overview. UpToDate Web site. January 30, 2009. Available at: http://www.uptodate.com/patients/content/topic.do?topicKey=~n0K0MIfI1iZs.&selectedTitle=5~150&source=search_result. Accessed April 20, 2009.
- McCulloch D. Patient information: Diabetes mellitus type 2: Overview. UpToDate Web site. December 4, 2008. Available at: http://www.uptodate.com/patients/content/topic.do?topicKey=~X0jjLnBn4._ko&selectedTitle=4~150&source=search_result. Accessed April 20, 2009.