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.
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.
Diabetes pill overdose; Sulfonylurea overdose
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.
Sulfonylurea-based oral hypoglycemics are sold under a variety of brand names. Some are listed below.
- Glipizide (Glucotrol)
- Glyburide (DiaBeta, Micronase)
- Glimepiride (Amaryl)
- Tolbutamide (Orinase)
- Tolazamide (Tolinase)
Note: This list may not be all-inclusive.
- Apathy (lack of desire to do anything)
Convulsions Confusion Increased appetite Nausea
Rapid heartbeat Stupor
Tinglingof tongue and lips
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, or a local emergency number
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.
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:
Blood tests to measure
Sugar solution given through a vein (IV)
Tube through the nose into the stomach to empty the stomach (gastric lavage)
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