Description: Sulfonylureas are a class of type II diabetes drugs that stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin. This class of medications is effective when there is some remaining pancreatic activity left. Sulfonylureas decrease blood sugar concentrations specifically by inducing cells in the pancreas to release insulin. Sulfonylureas are used only for type II diabetes.
Serious Side Effects of Sulfonylureas and Warnings
Sulfonylureas may also cause changes in your blood sugar levels and potentially life-threatening hypoglycemia. Hemolytic anemia (destruction or red blood cells) is another serious adverse effect of sulfonylureas. Side effects of sulfonylureas may be reduced by altering the dose or frequency of medication, which is often a trial-and-error approach.
Common Side Effects
Common side effects of sulfonylureas include: low blood sugar symptoms such as sweating, dizziness, confusion or nervousness, weight gain, hunger, upset stomach, skin reactions, and dark colored urine. Some sulfonylureas may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
Understand Your Risks with the Rxight® Genetic Test
Rxight® genetic testing is based on the analysis of gene variants that affect how over 200 over-the-counter and prescription medications work across dozens of medication classes, including sulfonylureas. The testing, called “pharmacogenetic testing,” is done by taking a DNA sample from a cheek swab at a participating pharmacy, where the Rxight® kit can be purchased. After the sample is analyzed at our labs, your results will be reviewed in detail so that your prescribers can find the safest and most therapeutic dose, or an alternative medication if needed.
How Does Pharmacogenetic Testing Work?
Pharmacogenetic testing helps clinicians select medications and doses associated with better therapeutic value and fewer side effects. Inter-individual gene variation means that the enzyme made from the genetic instructions will vary as well. There are a number of these drug-processing genes and can all be tested with pharmacogenetics. Side effects and medication efficacy vary among individuals in part because of genetic variants that affect how the medicine is assimilated. (International Journal of Pediatrics
“Pharmacogenomics in Children: Advantages and Challenges of Next Generation Sequencing Applications” June 2012). In this way, pharmacogenetic testing obviates the often protracted process of trial and error, and finds the right dosages that reduce symptoms and minimize unpleasant side effects to improve compliance, or avoid serious adverse reactions, and make better informed treatment decisions.
Contributors to this Article:
Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry