Skip to Content

Glimepiride

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Apr 16, 2019.

Pronunciation

(GLYE me pye ride)

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.

Tablet, Oral:

Amaryl: 1 mg [scored]

Amaryl: 2 mg, 4 mg [scored; contains fd&c blue #2 aluminum lake]

Generic: 1 mg, 2 mg, 4 mg

Brand Names: U.S.

  • Amaryl

Pharmacologic Category

  • Antidiabetic Agent, Sulfonylurea

Pharmacology

Stimulates insulin release from the pancreatic beta cells; reduces glucose output from the liver; insulin sensitivity is increased at peripheral target sites

Absorption

100%

Distribution

Vd: 8.8 L

Metabolism

Hepatic oxidation via CYP2C9 to M1 metabolite (~33% activity of parent compound); further oxidative metabolism to inactive M2 metabolite

Excretion

Urine (60%, 80% to 90% as M1 and M2 metabolites); feces (40%, 70% as M1 and M2 metabolites)

Onset of Action

Peak effect: Blood glucose reductions: 2 to 3 hours

Time to Peak

2 to 3 hours

Duration of Action

24 hours

Half-Life Elimination

5 to 9 hours

Protein Binding

>99.5%

Special Populations: Renal Function Impairment

As renal function declines, glimepiride serum levels decrease and metabolite (M1 and M2) AUC and half-lives increase. Patients with CrCl <20 mL/minute had 2.3-fold higher AUC of M1 (an active metabolite) compared to patients with CrCl >50 mL/minute.

Use: Labeled Indications

Diabetes mellitus, type 2: As an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Contraindications

Hypersensitivity to glimepiride, any component of the formulation, or sulfonamides

Note: Although the FDA approved product labeling states this medication is contraindicated with other sulfonamide-containing drug classes, the scientific basis of this statement has been challenged. See “Warnings/Precautions” for more detail.

Documentation of allergenic cross-reactivity for drugs in this class is limited. However, because of similarities in chemical structure and/or pharmacologic actions, the possibility of cross-sensitivity cannot be ruled out with certainty.

Canadian labeling: Additional contraindications (not in US labeling): Pregnancy; breastfeeding; type 1 diabetes; diabetic ketoacidosis (with or without coma); severe renal or hepatic impairment

Dosing: Adult

Diabetes mellitus, type 2: Oral:

Initial: 1 to 2 mg once daily, administered with breakfast or the first main meal; based on response, may increase dose by 1 to 2 mg every 1 to 2 weeks up to maximum of 8 mg once daily.

Conversion from therapy with long half-life agents: Observe patient carefully for hypoglycemia for 1 to 2 weeks when converting from a longer half-life agent (eg, chlorpropamide) to glimepiride due to overlapping hypoglycemic effects.

Dosing: Geriatric

Avoid use (Beers Criteria [AGS 2019]).

Administration

Oral: Administer once daily with breakfast or first main meal of the day. Patients that are NPO or require decreased caloric intake may need doses held to avoid hypoglycemia.

Dietary Considerations

Take with breakfast or the first main meal of the day. Individualized medical nutrition therapy (MNT) based on ADA recommendations is an integral part of therapy.

Storage

Store at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted between 20°C and 25°C (68°F and 77°F)

Drug Interactions

Ajmaline: Sulfonamides may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Ajmaline. Specifically, the risk for cholestasis may be increased. Monitor therapy

Alcohol (Ethyl): Sulfonylureas may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Alcohol (Ethyl). A flushing reaction may occur. Monitor therapy

Alpelisib: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP2C9 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

Alpha-Lipoic Acid: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Antidiabetic Agents. Monitor therapy

Aminolevulinic Acid (Systemic): Photosensitizing Agents may enhance the photosensitizing effect of Aminolevulinic Acid (Systemic). Avoid combination

Aminolevulinic Acid (Topical): Photosensitizing Agents may enhance the photosensitizing effect of Aminolevulinic Acid (Topical). Monitor therapy

Androgens: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Blood Glucose Lowering Agents. Exceptions: Danazol. Monitor therapy

Antidiabetic Agents: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Hypoglycemia-Associated Agents. Monitor therapy

Beta-Blockers: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Sulfonylureas. Cardioselective beta-blockers (eg, acebutolol, atenolol, metoprolol, and penbutolol) may be safer than nonselective beta-blockers. All beta-blockers appear to mask tachycardia as an initial symptom of hypoglycemia. Ophthalmic beta-blockers are probably associated with lower risk than systemic agents. Exceptions: Levobunolol; Metipranolol. Monitor therapy

Carbocisteine: Sulfonylureas may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Carbocisteine. Specifically, sulfonylureas may enhance adverse effects of alcohol that is present in liquid formulations of carbocisteine-containing products. Monitor therapy

Chloramphenicol (Systemic): May decrease the metabolism of Sulfonylureas. Monitor therapy

Cimetidine: May increase the serum concentration of Sulfonylureas. Monitor therapy

Colesevelam: May decrease the serum concentration of Glimepiride. Management: Administer glimepiride at least 4 hours prior to colesevelam. Consider therapy modification

Cyclic Antidepressants: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Sulfonylureas. Monitor therapy

CYP2C9 Inhibitors (Moderate): May decrease the metabolism of CYP2C9 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

Dabrafenib: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP2C9 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Management: Seek alternatives to the CYP2C9 substrate when possible. If concomitant therapy cannot be avoided, monitor clinical effects of the substrate closely (particularly therapeutic effects). Consider therapy modification

Dexketoprofen: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Sulfonamides. Monitor therapy

Dipeptidyl Peptidase-IV Inhibitors: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Sulfonylureas. Management: Consider a decrease in sulfonylurea dose when initiating therapy with a dipeptidyl peptidase-IV inhibitor and monitor patients for hypoglycemia. Consider therapy modification

Direct Acting Antiviral Agents (HCV): May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Antidiabetic Agents. Monitor therapy

Enzalutamide: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP2C9 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Management: Concurrent use of enzalutamide with CYP2C9 substrates that have a narrow therapeutic index should be avoided. Use of enzalutamide and any other CYP2C9 substrate should be performed with caution and close monitoring. Consider therapy modification

Fibric Acid Derivatives: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Sulfonylureas. Monitor therapy

Fluconazole: May increase the serum concentration of Sulfonylureas. Management: Seek alternatives when possible. If used together, monitor closely for increased effects of sulfonylureas if fluconazole is initiated/dose increased, or decreased effects if fluconazole is discontinued/dose decreased. Consider therapy modification

Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Agonists: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Sulfonylureas. Management: Consider sulfonylurea dose reductions when used in combination with glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists. Consider therapy modification

Guanethidine: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Antidiabetic Agents. Monitor therapy

Herbs (Hypoglycemic Properties): May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Hypoglycemia-Associated Agents. Monitor therapy

Hyperglycemia-Associated Agents: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Antidiabetic Agents. Monitor therapy

Hypoglycemia-Associated Agents: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of other Hypoglycemia-Associated Agents. Monitor therapy

Hypoglycemia-Associated Agents: Antidiabetic Agents may enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Hypoglycemia-Associated Agents. Monitor therapy

Lumacaftor: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP2C9 Substrates (High Risk with Inhibitors or Inducers). Lumacaftor may increase the serum concentration of CYP2C9 Substrates (High Risk with Inhibitors or Inducers). Monitor therapy

Maitake: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Blood Glucose Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy

Mecamylamine: Sulfonamides may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Mecamylamine. Avoid combination

Metreleptin: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Sulfonylureas. Management: Sulfonylurea dosage adjustments (including potentially large decreases) may be required to minimize the risk for hypoglycemia with concurrent use of metreleptin. Monitor closely. Consider therapy modification

Miconazole (Oral): May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Sulfonylureas. Miconazole (Oral) may increase the serum concentration of Sulfonylureas. Monitor therapy

MiFEPRIStone: May increase the serum concentration of CYP2C9 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Management: Use CYP2C9 substrates at the lowest recommended dose, and monitor closely for adverse effects, during and in the 2 weeks following mifepristone treatment. Consider therapy modification

Mitiglinide: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Sulfonylureas. Avoid combination

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Blood Glucose Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy

Pegvisomant: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Blood Glucose Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy

Porfimer: Photosensitizing Agents may enhance the photosensitizing effect of Porfimer. Monitor therapy

Probenecid: May decrease the protein binding of Sulfonylureas. Probenecid may increase the serum concentration of Sulfonylureas. Monitor therapy

Prothionamide: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Blood Glucose Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy

Quinolones: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Blood Glucose Lowering Agents. Quinolones may diminish the therapeutic effect of Blood Glucose Lowering Agents. Specifically, if an agent is being used to treat diabetes, loss of blood sugar control may occur with quinolone use. Monitor therapy

RaNITIdine: May increase the serum concentration of Sulfonylureas. Monitor therapy

RifAMPin: May decrease the serum concentration of Sulfonylureas. Management: Seek alternatives to these combinations when possible. Monitor closely for diminished therapeutic effects of sulfonylureas if rifampin is initiated/dose increased, or enhanced effects if rifampin is discontinued/dose decreased. Consider therapy modification

Rifapentine: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP2C9 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

Ritodrine: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Antidiabetic Agents. Monitor therapy

Salicylates: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Blood Glucose Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Blood Glucose Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy

Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) Inhibitors: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Sulfonylureas. Management: Consider a decrease in sulfonylurea dose when initiating therapy with a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor and monitor patients for hypoglycemia. Consider therapy modification

Sulfonamide Antibiotics: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Sulfonylureas. Monitor therapy

Thiazide and Thiazide-Like Diuretics: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Antidiabetic Agents. Monitor therapy

Thiazolidinediones: May enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Sulfonylureas. Management: Consider sulfonylurea dose adjustments in patients taking thiazolidinediones and monitor for hypoglycemia. Consider therapy modification

Verteporfin: Photosensitizing Agents may enhance the photosensitizing effect of Verteporfin. Monitor therapy

Vitamin K Antagonists (eg, warfarin): Sulfonylureas may enhance the anticoagulant effect of Vitamin K Antagonists. Vitamin K Antagonists may enhance the hypoglycemic effect of Sulfonylureas. Monitor therapy

Voriconazole: May increase the serum concentration of Sulfonylureas. Monitor therapy

Adverse Reactions

>10%: Endocrine & metabolic: Hypoglycemia (4% to 20%)

1% to 10%:

Central nervous system: Dizziness (2%), headache

Gastrointestinal: Nausea (5%)

Hepatic: Increased serum ALT (2%)

Respiratory: Flu-like symptoms (5%)

Miscellaneous: Accidental injury (6%)

<1%, postmarketing, and/or case reports: Abnormal hepatic function tests, accommodation disturbance (early treatment), agranulocytosis, alopecia, anaphylaxis, angioedema, aplastic anemia, cholestatic jaundice, diarrhea, disulfiram-like reaction, dysgeusia, dyspnea, erythema, gastrointestinal pain, hemolytic anemia, hepatic failure, hepatic insufficiency, hepatic porphyria, hepatitis, hypersensitivity, hypersensitivity angiitis, hyponatremia, hypotension, immune thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, maculopapular rash, morbilliform rash, pancytopenia, porphyria cutanea tarda, pruritus, shock, SIADH, skin photosensitivity, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, thrombocytopenia, urticaria, vomiting, weight gain

Warnings/Precautions

Concerns related to adverse effects:

• Cardiovascular mortality: Product labeling states oral hypoglycemic drugs may be associated with an increased cardiovascular mortality as compared to treatment with diet alone or diet plus insulin. Data to support this association are limited, and several studies, including a large prospective trial (UKPDS 1998), have not supported an association. In patients with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), other agents are preferred (ADA 2019).

• Hypoglycemia: All sulfonylurea drugs are capable of producing severe hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is more likely to occur when caloric intake is deficient, after severe or prolonged exercise, when ethanol is ingested, or when more than one glucose-lowering drug is used. It is also more likely in elderly patients, malnourished patients and in patients with impaired renal or hepatic function; use with caution.

• Sulfonamide (“sulfa”) allergy: The FDA-approved product labeling for many medications containing a sulfonamide chemical group includes a broad contraindication in patients with a prior allergic reaction to sulfonamides. There is a potential for cross-reactivity between members of a specific class (eg, two antibiotic sulfonamides). However, concerns for cross-reactivity have previously extended to all compounds containing the sulfonamide structure (SO2NH2). An expanded understanding of allergic mechanisms indicates cross-reactivity between antibiotic sulfonamides and nonantibiotic sulfonamides may not occur or at the very least this potential is extremely low (Brackett 2004; Johnson 2005; Slatore 2004; Tornero 2004). In particular, mechanisms of cross-reaction due to antibody production (anaphylaxis) are unlikely to occur with nonantibiotic sulfonamides. T-cell-mediated (type IV) reactions (eg, maculopapular rash) are less well understood and it is not possible to completely exclude this potential based on current insights. In cases where prior reactions were severe (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/TEN), some clinicians choose to avoid exposure to these classes.

Disease-related concerns:

• Bariatric surgery:

– Altered absorption: Use IR formulations after surgery to minimize the potential effects of bypassing stomach and proximal small bowel with gastric bypass or more rapid gastric emptying and proximal small bowel transit with sleeve gastrectomy (Apovian 2015). ER formulations may have altered release and absorption patterns after gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy (but not gastric band). Compared to control, Tmax in a gastric bypass cohort administered tolbutamide was significantly shorter (1.4 ± 1.8 vs 5.1 ± 1.7 hours; P < 0.001), while Cmax and AUC0- were not altered (Tandra 2013).

– Hypoglycemia: Use an antidiabetic agent without the potential for hypoglycemia if possible; hypoglycemia may occur after gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric band (Mechanick 2013). Insulin secretion and sensitivity may be partially or completely restored after these procedures (gastric bypass is most effective, followed by sleeve and finally band) (Korner 2009; Peterli 2012). First-phase insulin secretion and hepatic insulin sensitivity have been shown to be significantly improved in the immediate days after gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. The restorative effects of these procedures on peripheral insulin sensitivity may occur later in the 3- to 12-month period postsurgery (Mingrone 2016).

– Weight gain: Evaluate risk vs benefit and consider alternative therapy after gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric banding; weight gain may occur (Apovian 2015).

• Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency: Patients with G6PD deficiency may be at an increased risk of sulfonylurea-induced hemolytic anemia; however, cases have also been described in patients without G6PD deficiency during postmarketing surveillance. Use with caution and consider a nonsulfonylurea alternative in patients with G6PD deficiency.

• Hepatic impairment: Use with caution; patients with hepatic impairment are more likely to develop hypoglycemia.

• Renal impairment: Use with caution and reduce dosage; patients with renal impairment are more likely to develop hypoglycemia.

• Stress-related states: It may be necessary to discontinue therapy and administer insulin if the patient is exposed to stress (fever, trauma, infection, surgery).

Special populations:

• CYP2C9 genotype: Systemic exposure of glimepiride is increased in patients with CYP2C9*3 allele (Niemi 2002).

• Elderly: Use with caution; elderly patients are more likely to develop hypoglycemia.

Concurrent drug therapy issues:

• Drug-drug interactions: Potentially significant interactions may exist, requiring dose or frequency adjustment, additional monitoring, and/or selection of alternative therapy. Consult drug interactions database for more detailed information.

Other warnings/precautions:

• Appropriate use: Not indicated for use in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus or with diabetic ketoacidosis.

Monitoring Parameters

Monitor for signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia (fatigue, excessive hunger, profuse sweating, numbness of extremities), blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c (at least twice yearly in patients who have stable glycemic control and are meeting treatment goals; quarterly in patients not meeting treatment goals or with therapy change [ADA 2019]), renal function

Pregnancy Considerations

Severe hypoglycemia lasting 4 to 10 days has been noted in infants born to mothers taking a sulfonylurea at the time of delivery. Information related to the use of glimepiride during pregnancy is limited (Balaguer Santamaria 2000; Kalyoncu 2005). If exposure during pregnancy occurs, discontinue at least 2 weeks prior to delivery.

In women with diabetes, maternal hyperglycemia can be associated with congenital malformations as well as adverse effects in the fetus, neonate, and the mother (ACOG 201 2018; ADA 2019; Metzger 2007). To prevent adverse outcomes prior to conception and throughout pregnancy, maternal blood glucose and HbA1c should be kept as close to target goals as possible but without causing significant hypoglycemia (ADA 2019; Blumer 2013). Agents other than glimepiride are currently recommended to treat diabetes in pregnant women (ADA 2019).

Patient Education

What is this drug used for?

• It is used to lower blood sugar in patients with high blood sugar (diabetes).

Frequently reported side effects of this drug

• Nausea

• Headache

• Flu-like symptoms

• Weight gain

Other side effects of this drug: Talk with your doctor right away if you have any of these signs of:

• Low blood sugar like dizziness, headache, fatigue, feeling weak, shaking, a fast heartbeat, confusion, hunger, or sweating.

• Severe dizziness

• Passing out

• Shortness of breath

• Severe loss of strength and energy

• Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.

• Signs of a significant reaction like wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Hide