What is Amaryl Medication Used For? Side Effects and Dosage
Type II diabetes mostly affects adults over 40 years of age, although sometimes it affects people much younger. The condition has a number of risk factors associated with it, but it is mostly linked to lifestyle choices and genetics. In fact, diabetes is often termed as a lifestyle disease. Why is this so? Mostly because it affects individuals who don’t engage in physical activity and those who are overweight or obese due to bad eating habits. It’s linked to high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well. The condition often develops when glucose, which is used as a form of energy, stays in the bloodstream and isn’t utilized by the cells. This occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or if the body can no longer use insulin properly. Consequently, insulin resistance is developed. If one is insulin resistant, the body has a harder time making use of the insulin that is produced, and sugar builds up in the bloodstream leading to signs and symptoms associated with type II diabetes, like increased thirst and unexplained fatigue. Since the symptoms are not always obvious, and it can be hard to detect them, it’s advisable to seek medical intervention if you notice something out of the ordinary. Additionally, yearly physical checkups are crucial for a doctor to diagnose disease like diabetes, if present, during the physical exam. If you are diagnosed with the condition, what next? The physician may prescribe a type II diabetes medication like Amaryl. However, this medication can lead to Amaryl side effects.
What is Amaryl?
It is a prescription drug that comes in the form of a tablet. Glimepiride is the active substance in this medication. It belongs in a class of medications known as sulfonylureas, and it can be used alone or with other drugs, like Metformin. This drug lowers blood sugar by stimulating the pancreas to release more insulin, enabling your body to utilize the insulin hormone more efficiently. The tablet is taken once daily and it’s available in the following strengths:
- 1 mg
- 2 mg
- 3 mg
- 4 mg
The Drug Dosage
The starting dose is typically 1 mg taken during breakfast or with the first main meal, or as guided by a medical care provider. If blood sugar levels aren’t lowered, or the desired results aren’t achieved, the doctor may increase the dose to 2 mg. However, any further adjustments are usually done in increments of 1 mg in one to two week intervals, depending on your response. Adult maintenance dose ranges from 1 mg to 4 mg once daily and 8 mg is the maximum dose taken daily. It’s crucial to swallow the tablet whole with at least a half a glass of water or liquid. Never chew nor crush the medicine. As you use the medicine, you should be mindful to be on the lookout for the side effects of Amaryl, discussed later in this article.
Some patients with type 2 diabetes are able to control their blood sugar levels with diet and exercise only. Hence, sticking to a planned diet and physical activity is of the essence while on Amaryl. For the drug to be most effective, your dosage should be balanced with the food you consume and the physical activity you participate in. If you change your eating habits, your exercise routine or both, it’s important to check if your blood glucose levels change. Your physician will give more information about this.
Take the medication as instructed by your medical care provider only. Do not take more or less of the medicine than you have been prescribed. Store the drug at room temperature, away from children’s reach. Protect the tablets from sunlight, as well as moisture, and don’t dispose of it in waste water or the garbage. Instead, ask the pharmacist or your doctor about the best way to discard drugs that are no longer in use or are expired.
Amaryl Side Effects
Side effects of this medication differ from one patient to another. They may be severe, or less serious. Before taking this drug, have a discussion with the doctor about the possible side effects and if there are any remedies for them. The physician may start you on a low dose to give the body time to adjust or become used to the medication.
The most common negative effects include:
- Unexplained weight gain
Important Information to Remember
A severe allergic reaction is an example of a serious side effect that is marked by hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips tongue or throat. Therefore, if you are allergic to the drug, or have existing allergies, inform your medical care provider before taking this medication.
Please note that you may experience low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) while on this drug if you consume inadequate calories from food by skipping a meal, taking part in unusually heavy exercises, drinking alcohol, or by experiencing stress.
Signs of hypoglycemia include:
- Sudden sweating
- Fast heart beat
- Blurred vision
Make it a habit of carrying with you a healthy sugary drink or snack to take if low blood sugar occurs. To curb hypoglycemia, consume foods in regular schedules, avoid skipping meals and don’t engage in strenuous exercises if not used to them. If you are traveling for long hours and there is a probability of skipping a meal, discuss with your doctor about the action to take in case of a missed meal.
Some medicines such as oral birth control pills, vitamins, and herbal supplements can cause high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), which may be detected if one experiences increased thirst, urination, confusion, drowsiness and rapid breathing. Ensure that your medical practitioner is aware of all the medication you are taking and report to him or her if you encounter symptoms of hyperglycemia.
Since Amaryl may make the patient prone to sunburn, avoid long periods of direct exposure to sunlight. You can also put on protective clothing and use sunscreen lotion or cream with SPF 30 or higher when going outdoors.
A patient with diabetes has a higher risk for high cholesterol and high blood pressure, hence the health practitioner may put a patient with type II diabetes on drugs to deal with either or both. Colesevelam is sometimes used to lower cholesterol levels. This drug is a bile acid sequestrant, which works by aiding the bowels in removing bile acids from the body. In turn, the body uses cholesterol to make extra bile acids and cholesterol is reduced. Since absorption of Amaryl may be reduced, take it four hours before taking colesevelam to avoid this interaction.
Amaryl is effective if only used as prescribed, accompanied with diet and physical activity, but you should regularly check and record your blood glucose levels.
Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.