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What is Amaryl (Glimepiride)?
Amaryl (Glimepiride) is a medium-to-long-acting oral diabetes medicine. It can help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar levels have not been adequately controlled by diet and exercise alone.
What is the drug used for?
Amaryl is used to lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar levels cannot be controlled by diet and exercise alone. It is used together with a healthy diet and exercise, and sometimes in combination with insulin, Metformin or other anti-diabetic drugs.
How does Glimepiride work?
Glimepiride (Amaryl) belongs to a class of drugs called sulfonylureas, or sulfa drugs, which lower your blood sugar levels by increasing insulin production. They do this by attaching to cells in the pancreas, called beta cells, and stimulating them to create more insulin for your body. It is used in combination with proper diet management, exercise and weight reduction.
Amaryl, like all sulfonylureas, are not effective when there is a complete deficiency of insulin production, such as in type 1 diabetes, or after the pancreas has been removed.
When and how to use
Amaryl should be taken with breakfast, or the first main meal of the day. The tablets must be swallowed with a sufficient amount of liquid (approximately ½ glass) without chewing. People being transferred to Amaryl treatment from longer lasting sulfonylureas (e.g., chlorpropamide) may have an overlapping drug effect for a couple of weeks and should be monitored for low blood sugar.
You should also avoid drinking excessive alcohol, as it can also lower blood sugar, and may interfere with your treatment. Excessive exposure to sunlight or tanning beds should be avoided as Glimepiride can make you sunburn more easily. Always try to wear clothes that adequately protect you, along with using sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater) when you are outside.
The recommended initial dose is 1 mg or 2 mg once daily. People at increased risk for hypoglycemia (e.g., the elderly or people with kidney impairment) should be started on 1 mg once daily. Once you reach a daily dose of 2 mg, additional dose increases should be made in increments of 1 or 2 mg based on your blood sugar level response. Increases should not occur more frequently than every 1–2 weeks. The maximum recommended daily dose is 8 mg.
In case of a missed dose, take the dose as soon as possible, unless it is almost time for your next dose. Make sure to not take two doses at the same time.
Warnings and precautions
Before you use Amaryl talk to your doctor or pharmacist, especially if you have kidney, liver, heart disease, or a blood disease called G6PD-deficiency anemia.
You should always carefully monitor your blood sugar during times of stress, travel, sickness, medical procedures or medical emergency, strenuous exercise, or if you drink alcohol or miss meals. All of these things can affect your blood sugar levels which means your dose may also have to change. Do not change your dose, or schedule without consultation with your doctor.
If taken at the same time as colesevelam, a bile acid binder used to lower cholesterol, it may reduce the absorption of Amaryl, which can result in increased blood sugar. It should be taken at least 4 hours before colesevelam.
If you take Glimepiride with other drugs that can lower blood sugar you may be more likely to have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Some of these drugs are:
- Exenatide (Byetta)
- Probenecid (Benemid)
- Aspirin or other salicylates (including Pepto Bismol)
- Anticoagulants, or blood thinners
- Sulfa drugs (Bactrim, SMZ-TMP, etc.)
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI)
- Insulin, or other anti-diabetic medications
Common negative effects
- Dizziness, weakness
- Mild nausea or vomiting
- Flu symptoms
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
Severe negative effects
- Unexplained fever, chills or sore throat
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Yellowing of skin or eyes, dark colored urine or light colored bowel movements
- Skin rash or hives
- Swelling of the legs or unexpected weight gain.
Stop taking the drug and seek medical help immediately if you have severe allergic reactions like:
- severe skin reaction
- swelling of the throat, lips
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Talk to your health care provider about any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.