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Glyburide for diabetes


Take glyburide with, or just after, your first main meal of the day (usually breakfast).

Remember to follow any advice you have been given about your diet and taking exercise.

Common side-effects include stomach upset and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Make sure you know how to recognise the symptoms of low blood sugar. These include feeling shaky or anxious, sweating, looking pale, feeling hungry, having a feeling that your heart is pounding (palpitations), and feeling dizzy.

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About glyburide

Type of medicine

A sulfonylurea antidiabetic medicine

Used for

Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Also called

Glynase®; Glucovance® (glyburide with metformin)

Available as


Insulin is a hormone which is made naturally in your body, in the pancreas. It helps to control the levels of sugar (glucose) in your blood. If your body does not make enough insulin, or if it does not use the insulin it makes effectively, this results in the condition called diabetes (diabetes mellitus).

People with diabetes need treatment to control the amount of sugar in their blood. This is because good control of blood sugar levels reduces the risk of complications later on. Some people can control the sugar in their blood by making changes to the food they eat but, for other people, medicines like glyburide are given alongside the changes in diet.

Glyburide (also know as glibenclamide) works by increasing the amount of insulin that your pancreas produces. This helps to reduce the amount of sugar in your blood.

Glyburide is also available in combination with another antidiabetic medicine called metformin. This combination reduces the number of tablets you need to take each day.

Before taking glyburide

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking glyburide it is important that your physician knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breastfeeding.

  • If you have any problems with the way your liver works, or with the way your kidneys work.

  • If you have been told you have porphyria or glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. These are rare inherited disorders.

  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.

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How to take glyburide tablets

  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about glyburide tablets and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking them.

  • Take glyburide exactly as your physician tells you to. The usual starting dose is 5 mg daily. It is prescribed as a single dose to be taken with, or immediately after, breakfast.

  • Depending on your blood sugar (glucose) levels, your daily dose may need to be increased. Your physician will do this slowly, usually increasing by one 2.5 mg tablet each week. Your blood sugar levels will need to be tested regularly.

  • If you need higher doses your physician may ask you to take glyburide twice each day. If this happens take each dose with a meal or snack and try to space your doses evenly.

  • Different manufacturers' products may contain different amounts of glyburide and have different recommended doses. Each time you get a prescription make sure you receive the same strength of tablet as before. Ask the pharmacist for advice if you are unsure.

  • If you forget to take a dose at the usual time, take it with your next meal. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses on the same day to make up for a forgotten dose.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • It is important that you keep your regular physician's and laboratory appointments. This is so that your progress can be monitored. You will need regular check-ups with an eye clinic and a foot clinic as well as with your physician and diabetes clinic.

  • Your physician may recommend that you test for sugar (glucose) in your blood regularly to check that your diabetes is being controlled. Your physician will show you how to do this.

  • If you have been given advice by your physician about changes to your diet, stopping smoking or taking regular exercise, it is important for you to follow the advice you have been given.

  • Make sure you know what it feels like if your blood sugar drops too low. This is known as hypoglycemia, or a 'hypo'. The first signs of hypoglycemia are feeling shaky or anxious, sweating, looking pale, feeling hungry, having a feeling that your heart is pounding (palpitations), and feeling dizzy. If this happens, eat something containing sugar, such as dextrose tablets, sugary candy or a sugary soda (non-diet). Then follow this up with a snack such as a sandwich or a banana.

  • Low blood sugar can occur if you miss a meal, if you exercise more than usual, if you are ill, or if you drink alcohol.

  • Do not drink alcohol, as it can affect the control of your blood sugar. Ask your physician if you need further advice about this.

  • If you are a driver you should take special care, as your ability to concentrate may be affected if your diabetes is not well controlled. You may be advised to check your blood sugar levels before you travel and to have a snack with you on long journeys.

  • All US states have special licensing laws for drivers with medical conditions. You may be required to report your diabetes to local agencies. Ask your physician for advice about the laws in your state.

  • If you get unusually thirsty, pass urine more frequently than normal, or feel very tired, you should let your physician know. These are signs that there is too much sugar in your blood and your treatment may need adjusting.

  • Check with your physician before taking up any new physical exercise, as this will have an effect on your blood sugar levels and you may need to check your blood levels more regularly.

  • If you are due to have an operation or dental treatment, you should tell the person carrying out the treatment that you have diabetes and give them a list of the medicines you are taking.

  • If you buy any medicines, always check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take.

  • Treatment for diabetes is usually lifelong. Continue to take the tablets unless you are advised otherwise by your physician.

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Can glyburide cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with glyburide. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your physician or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common glyburide side-effects

What can I do if I experience this?

Nausea or vomiting

Stick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals

Hard stools that are difficult to pass (constipation)

Eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water

Loose, watery stools (diarrhea)

Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids

Signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

: feeling shaky or anxious, sweating, looking pale, feeling hungry, feeling that your heart is pounding (palpitations), feeling dizzy

Eat something containing sugar such as a sweet cookie or a sugary drink (not diet) and follow this up with a snack such as a sandwich. Tell your physician if you notice these symptoms

Increase in weight

If this becomes a problem, let your physician know at your next check-up

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your physician or pharmacist.

How to store glyburide

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.

  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Important information about all medicines

Important information about all medicines

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the emergency room of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Ask your pharmacist about ways to dispose of medicines safely in your local area.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Report side effects to a medicine or vaccine

If you experience side effects, you can report them online through the Yellow Card website.

Further reading and references

Article history

The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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