What is the most important information I should know about glimepiride?
Do 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).
Before taking glimepiride, tell your doctor if you are allergic to sulfa drugs, or if you have heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, an enzyme deficiency (G6PD), adrenal or pituitary gland problems, or if you are under-nourished.
Take care not to let your blood sugar get too low. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can occur if you skip a meal, exercise too long, drink alcohol, or are under stress. Symptoms include headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, tremor, irritability, or trouble concentrating. Carry hard candy or glucose tablets with you in case you have low blood sugar. Other sugar sources include orange juice and milk. Be sure your family and close friends know how to help you in an emergency.
Glimepiride is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely. Changing any of these factors can affect your blood sugar levels.
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 diabetes. Insulin or other diabetes medicines are sometimes used in combination with glimepiride if needed.
Glimepiride may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What should I discuss with my doctor before taking glimepiride?
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).
To make sure you can safely take glimepiride, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
liver or kidney disease;
an allergy to sulfa drugs;
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 will harm an unborn baby. Similar diabetes medications have caused severe hypoglycemia in newborn babies whose mothers had used the medication near the time of delivery. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
It is not known whether glimepiride passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take glimepiride?
Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Glimepiride is usually taken once a day with breakfast or the first main meal of the day. Follow your doctor's instructions. Take glimepiride with a full glass of water.
Know the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and how to recognize them: headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, tremor, irritability, or trouble concentrating.
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. If you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink, use 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.
Your dose needs may change if you are ill, if you have a fever or infection, or if you have surgery or a medical emergency.
Ask your doctor how to adjust your glimepiride dose if needed. Do not change your medication dose or schedule without your doctor's advice.
Your blood sugar will need to be checked often, and you may need other blood tests at your doctor's office. Visit your doctor regularly.
Glimepiride is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, foot care, eye care, dental care, and testing your blood sugar. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely. Changing any of these factors can affect your blood sugar levels.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Use glimepiride regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. A glimepiride overdose can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia.
Symptoms of severe hypoglycemia include extreme weakness, confusion, tremors, sweating, trouble speaking, blurred vision, nausea, fainting, and seizure (convulsions).
What should I avoid while taking glimepiride?
Avoid drinking alcohol. It lowers blood sugar and may interfere with your diabetes treatment.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Glimepiride can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
What are the possible side effects of glimepiride?
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;
numbness or tingly feeling;
feeling like you might pass out;
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.
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.
What other drugs will affect glimepiride?
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);
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 take glimepiride with:
fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem);
an antibiotic such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), ofloxacin (Floxin), norfloxacin (Noroxin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), and others;
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);
sulfa drugs (Bactrim, Gantanol, Septra, and others); or
other oral diabetes medications, especially acarbose (Precose), metformin (Glucophage), miglitol (Glyset), pioglitazone (Actos), or rosiglitazone (Avandia).
You may be more likely to have hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) if you take glimepiride with:
diuretics (water pills);
steroids (prednisone and others);
niacin (Advicor, Niaspan, Niacor, Niaspan, Simcor, Slo-Niacin, 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.
Where can I get more information?
Your pharmacist can provide more information about glimepiride.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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