What is glimepiride?
Glimepiride is an oral diabetes medicine that helps control blood sugar levels. This medication helps your body respond better to insulin produced by your pancreas.
Glimepiride is used together with diet and exercise to treat type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes. Insulin or other diabetes medicines are sometimes used in combination with glimepiride if needed.
Glimepiride may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to glimepiride, or if you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment with insulin).
If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this medication. Before you take glimepiride, tell your doctor if you have:
- heart disease;
- liver or kidney disease;
- an enzyme deficiency called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD);
- adrenal or pituitary gland problems; or
- if you are under-nourished.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether glimepiride is harmful to an unborn baby. Before using glimepiride, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether glimepiride passes into breast milk or if it could be harmful to a nursing baby. Do not take glimepiride without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It lowers blood sugar and may interfere with your diabetes treatment.
Avoid exposure to sunlight, sunlamps, or tanning beds. Glimepiride can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, and a sunburn may result. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) when you are outdoors.
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Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. A glimepiride overdose can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia.
Symptoms of severe hypoglycemia include extreme weakness, blurred vision, sweating, trouble speaking, tremors, stomach pain, confusion, seizure (convulsions), and coma.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
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Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
- severe skin rash, itching, redness, or irritation;
- pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, fever, unusual weakness;
- dark urine, clay-colored stools;
- upper stomach pain, low fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, feeling restless or irritable, confusion, hallucinations, muscle pain or weakness, and/or seizure.
Less serious side effects may include:
- dizziness, headache, tired feeling;
- mild nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea;
- increased skin sensitivity to sunlight; or
- mild itching or skin rash.
Know the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and how to recognize them. Always keep a source of sugar available in case you have symptoms of low blood sugar. Sugar sources include orange juice, glucose gel, candy, or milk. Severe hypoglycemia may cause loss of consciousness, seizures, or death. If you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink, give an injection of glucagon. Your doctor can give you a prescription for a glucagon emergency injection kit and tell you how to give the injection.
If your blood sugar gets too high (hyperglycemia), you may feel very thirsty or hungry. You may also urinate more than usual. Call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of hyperglycemia.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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Using certain medicines can make it harder for you to tell when you have low blood sugar. Tell your doctor if you use any of the following:
- albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin);
- clonidine (Catapres);
- guanethidine (Ismelin); or
- a beta-blocker such as atenolol (Tenormin), carvedilol (Coreg), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran), sotalol (Betapace), and others.
You may be more likely to have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if you are taking glimepiride other drugs that lower blood sugar. Drugs that can lower blood sugar include:
- clarithromycin (Biaxin);
- probenecid (Benemid);
- some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs);
- aspirin or other salicylates (including Pepto-Bismol);
- a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin and others);
- a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI); and
- sulfa drugs (Bactrim, Gantanol, Septra, and others).
You may be more likely to have hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) if you are taking glimepiride with other drugs that raise blood sugar. Drugs that can raise blood sugar include:
- diuretics (water pills);
- steroids (prednisone and others);
- phenothiazines (Compazine and others);
- thyroid medicine (Synthroid and others);
- birth control pills and other hormones;
- seizure medicines (Dilantin and others);
- diet pills; and
- medicines to treat asthma, colds or allergies.
These lists are not complete and there are many other medicines that can increase or decrease the effects of glimepiride on lowering your blood sugar. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.
Amaryl and glimepiride
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