Brand Name (Generic Name)

Amaryl (glimepiride)
DiaBeta (glyburide)
Diabinese (chlorpropamide)
Glucotrol (glipizide)
Glucotrol XL (glipizide)
Glynase PresTab (glyburide)
Micronase (glyburide)
Orinase (tolbutamide)
Tolinase (tolazamide)

What are sulfonylureas?

Anti-diabetic drugs that increase insulin release from beta cells in the pancreas.

These pills do two things:

  • They help your pancreas make more insulin, which then lowers your blood glucose.
  • They help your body use the insulin it makes to better lower your blood glucose.

For these pills to work, your pancreas has to make some insulin. Sulfonylureas can make your blood glucose too low, which is called hypoglycemia (HY-po-gly-SEE-mee-ah).

Who can take them? Who can't?

Sulfonylureas are for adults with type 2 diabetes. They are not meant to treat type 1 diabetes and are not for anyone who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

What dosage can I take and how should I take it?

The initial dosage is 250 mg, taken once a day, orally.

How often should I take sulfonylureas?

Some sulfonylureas work all day, so you take them only once a day. Others you take twice a day. Your doctor will tell you how many times a day you should take your diabetes pill(s). Ask if you are not sure.

When should I take sulfonylureas?

The time you take your pill depends on which pill you take and what your doctor tells you. If you take the pill once a day, you will likely take it just before the first meal of the day (breakfast). If you take the medicine twice a day, you will likely take the first pill just before your first meal, and the second pill just before the last meal of the day (supper). Take the medicine at the same times each day. Ask your doctor when you should take your pills.

What are possible side effects of sulfonylureas?

  • hypoglycemia
  • an upset stomach
  • a skin rash or itching weight gain

Are other diabetes medications used with it?

Sulfonylureas can be taken in combination with other diabetes medications. You are encouraged to consult with your doctor to learn about the interactions between sulfonylureas and medications you are taking.

What should I tell my doctor before taking sulfonylureas?

Tell your doctor about any other medications you are on, as well as general allergies and allergies you have to the ingredients of sulfonylureas. Also, notify your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Reviewed by James A. Bennett 5/13

Last Modified Date: June 24, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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