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    Oral hypoglycemics overdose

    Diabetes pill overdose; Sulfonylurea overdose

    Oral hypoglycemic pills are a class of prescription medications used to control diabetes. Oral means "taken by mouth." There are many different types of oral hypoglycemics. This article focuses on a class called sulfonylureas.

    An overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this medication.

    This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

    Poisonous Ingredient

    There are many types of oral hypoglycemics. The poisonous ingredient depends on the specific drug. The main (active) ingredient in sulfonylurea-based oral hypoglycemics stimulates cells in the pancreas to produce more insulin.

    Where Found

    Sulfonylurea-based oral hypoglycemics are sold under a variety of brand names. Some are listed below.

    • Acetohexamide (Dymelor)
    • Chlorpropamide (Diabinese)
    • Glipizide (Glucotrol)
    • Glyburide (DiaBeta, Micronase)
    • Glimepiride (Amaryl)
    • Tolbutamide (Orinase)
    • Tolazamide (Tolinase)

    Note: This list may not be all-inclusive.

    Symptoms

    • Agitation
    • Apathy (lack of desire to do anything)
    • Coma
    • Convulsions
    • Confusion
    • Increased appetite
    • Nausea
    • Nervousness
    • Rapid heartbeat
    • Stupor
    • Sweating
    • Tingling of tongue and lips
    • Tremor

    Before Calling Emergency

    Determine the following information:

    • Patient's age, weight, and condition
    • Name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
    • Time it was swallowed
    • Amount swallowed

    Poison Control

    The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

    This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    See: Poison control center - emergency number

    What to Expect at the Emergency Room

    The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. You may receive:

    • Activated charcoal
    • Blood tests to measure blood glucose
    • Laxative
    • Sugar solution given through a vein (IV)
    • Tube through the nose into the stomach to empty the stomach (gastric lavage)

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Some of these medications may stay in the body for a long time, so the individual needs to be watched for several days. Death is possible, especially if an abnormal blood glucose level is not corrected in a timely manner.

    References

    Burns MJ, Levine M. Diabetic control agents. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 64.

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          A Closer Look

            Self Care

              Tests for Oral hypoglycemics overdose

                Review Date: 1/18/2010

                Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

                The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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