Diabeta (Glyburide) - Oral

Warning:

Consumption of oral hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) medications has been reported to be associated with increased cardiovascular disease as compared to treatment with diet alone or diet plus insulin. Be sure to alert your healthcare provider if you have a known allergy to any other sulfonamide derivatives (a group of medicines used to treat bacterial infections) such as tolbutamide, a type 2 diabetes drug, as you may develop a serious allergic reaction to Dibaeta as well.

What Is Diabeta?

Diabeta (glyburide) is available in the United States (U.S.) as its generic version only. Diabeta is a prescription medication that is used with diet and exercise to control hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) in adults aged 18 and older with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose). With type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn't produce enough insulin or resists insulin.

Diabeta is categorized as a sulfonylurea, meaning a drug that works to lower blood sugar by stimulating your pancreas to release insulin—a natural hormone that causes the cells of the body to take up and use glucose.

Diabeta is available as an oral tablet.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Glyburide

Brand Name(s): Diabeta (discontinued)

Drug Availability: Prescription

Administration Route: Oral

Therapeutic Classification: Hypoglycemic

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Glyburide

Dosage Form(s): Tablet

What Is Diabeta Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Diabeta to be used along with diet and exercise (and occasionally other medications) to control and lower high blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. 

Strongly linked to diabetes, hyperglycemia can cause vomiting, polyphagia (excessive hunger), polydipsia (excessive thirst), tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), vision problems, and other symptoms.

It's important to remember that because this medication will only help lower blood sugar in people whose bodies produce insulin naturally, is not used to treat type 1 diabetes (a condition in which the body does not produce insulin and, therefore, cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood) or diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a serious condition that may occur if high blood sugar is not treated).

How to Take Diabeta

You should take Diabeta as prescribed by your healthcare provider.  This medication should be taken by mouth with breakfast or your first main meal of the day unless your doctor tells you differently. In some cases, your healthcare provider may tell you to take Diabeta twice a day. To help you remember to take Diabeta, take it at around the same time(s) every day.

It is important that while on Diabeta, you watch out for signs and symptoms of high and low blood sugar levels and let your healthcare provider know if you have any unusual difficulties in controlling your blood sugar levels, especially during times of stress caused by infection, fever, trauma, or surgery. You should not drink alcohol while taking this medication.

Taking Diabeta without a meal can put you at risk of developing severely low blood sugar, which can be life-threatening.

Storage

Store Diabeta at room temperature, away from direct heat, moisture, and light. Keep the medication out of reach and out of sight of children and pets.

How Long Does Dibaeta Take to Work?

Single-dose studies with Diabeta showed significant bodily absorption within one hour of consumption, peak bodily absorption at about four hours, and low but detectable levels at twenty-four hours post-dosage.

What Are the Side Effects of Diabeta?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

As with all medications, Diabeta can cause side effects. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects you experience while taking this medication.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of Diabeta are:

Severe Side Effects

Consumption of oral hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) medications has been reported to be associated with increased cardiovascular disease as compared to treatment with diet alone or diet plus insulin. Be sure to alert your healthcare provider if you have a known allergy to any other sulfonamide derivatives (a group of medicines used to treat bacterial infections), such as tolbutamide, a type 2 diabetes drug, as you may develop a serious allergic reaction to Dibaeta as well.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects of Diabeta and their symptoms can include the following:

Long-Term Side Effects

Diabeta as an oral tablet is used for long-term treatment. It comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

Report Side Effects

Diabeta may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Diabeta Should I Take?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For type 2 diabetes:
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults—At first, 2.5 to 5 milligrams (mg) once a day taken with breakfast or the first main meal. Your doctor may adjust your dose if needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 20 mg per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

The following modifications (changes) should be kept in mind when using Diabeta:

Pregnancy: ​​Diabeta can be used in pregnant individuals as the benefits outweigh the risks of affecting the fetus in the womb. Because abnormal blood glucose levels during pregnancy are associated with a higher incidence of congenital issues, it's recommended that insulin be used during pregnancy to maintain healthy blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. 

If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, consult with a healthcare provider before starting Diabeta.

Breastfeeding: Caution is recommended with breastfeeding as limited data on its effects is available. Talk with your healthcare provider if you plan to breastfeed, weigh the benefits and risks of taking Diabeta while nursing, and the different ways available to feed your baby.

Adults over 65: In older, disabled, or potentially malnourished people, or in individuals with renal (kidney) or hepatic (liver) issues, the initial dosing, dose increments, and maintenance dosage should be conservative to avoid hypoglycemic reactions.  

Pediatric use: The safety and effectiveness of Diabeta have not been established in children. Diabeta is approved for use in adults only.

People who smoke: Smoking can lower Diabeta's effectiveness. Try to stop smoking before starting Diabeta, and avoid smoking while taking Diabeta. Your healthcare provider can help you with this goal.

Missed Dose

If you miss your dose of Diabeta take your dose with a meal as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Diabeta?

Do not take more Diabeta than directed on the package label. Overdosage of sulfonylureas like Diabeta can produce hypoglycemia. Severe hypoglycemic reactions include coma, seizures, altered mental status, and cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm).

If serious hypoglycemia is suspected you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

Common symptoms of drug-related overdose include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Appetite loss
  • Sweating
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Abdominal pain
  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)

What Happens If I Overdose on Diabeta?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Diabeta, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Diabeta, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

It is very important to follow carefully any instructions from your health care team about:

  • Alcohol—Drinking alcohol may cause severe low blood sugar. Discuss this with your health care team.
  • Counseling—Other family members need to learn how to prevent side effects or help with side effects if they occur. Also, patients with diabetes may need special counseling about diabetes medicine dosing changes that might occur because of lifestyle changes, such as changes in exercise and diet. Furthermore, counseling on contraception and pregnancy may be needed because of the problems that can occur in patients with diabetes during pregnancy.
  • Travel—Keep your recent prescription and your medical history with you. Be prepared for an emergency as you would normally. Make allowances for changing time zones and keep your meal times as close as possible to your usual meal times.
  • In case of emergency—There may be a time when you need emergency help for a problem caused by your diabetes. You need to be prepared for these emergencies. It is a good idea to wear a medical identification (ID) bracelet or neck chain at all times. Also, carry an ID card in your wallet or purse that says you have diabetes and a list of all of your medicines.

Check with your doctor right away if you start having chest pain or discomfort, nausea, pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck, shortness of breath, sweating, or vomiting while you are using this medicine. These may be symptoms of a serious heart problem, including a heart attack.

Too much glyburide can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) when it is used under certain conditions. Symptoms of low blood sugar must be treated before they lead to unconsciousness (passing out). Different people may feel different symptoms of low blood sugar. It is important that you learn which symptoms of low blood sugar you usually have so that you can treat it quickly and call someone on your health care team right away when you need advice.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)include anxiety, behavior change similar to being drunk, blurred vision, cold sweats, confusion, cool, pale skin, difficulty in thinking, drowsiness, excessive hunger, fast heartbeat, headache (continuing), nausea, nervousness, nightmares, restless sleep, shakiness, slurred speech, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

If symptoms of low blood sugar occur, eat glucose tablets or gel, corn syrup, honey, or sugar cubes; or drink fruit juice, non-diet soft drink, or sugar dissolved in water. Also, check your blood for low blood sugar. Glucagon is used in emergency situations when severe symptoms such as seizures (convulsions) or unconsciousness occur. Have a glucagon kit available, along with a syringe or needle, and know how to use it. Members of your household also should know how to use it.

Do not take this medicine if you are also using bosentan (Tracleer®). Also, make sure your doctor knows about all other medicines you are using for diabetes, including insulin.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Take Diabeta?

Diabeta is not appropriate for everyone. You should not take this medication if you are allergic to any of the inactive ingredients in Diabeta.

Diabeta may be used with caution in some people only if the healthcare provider determines it is safe. This includes:

  • You have had an allergic reaction to Diabeta.
  • You have diabetic ketoacidosis.
  • You have type 1 diabetes.
  • You are currently taking Tracleer (bosentan). Tracleer is a drug to treat pulmonary hypertension.

Before starting Diabeta you should tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following conditions because Diabeta may not be the best drug for you: 

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Heart or vascular disease
  • Adrenal or pituitary gland problems
  • G6PD deficiency (the most common enzyme deficiency in the world)
  • Drink alcohol

What Other Medications May Interact With Diabeta?

Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, and vitamins or supplements. 

Some medicines can affect how Diabeta works. Please tell your healthcare provider if you are using any of the following medications:

What Medications Are Similar?

Significant other sulfonylureas that work similarly to Diabeta include: 

This is a list of drugs also used to treat diabetes. It is not a list of drugs recommended to take with Diabeta. Discuss any questions or concerns with your pharmacist or a healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Diabeta used for?

    Diabeta is used along with diet and exercise to control blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

  • How does Diabeta work?

    Diabeta stimulates your pancreas to release insulin which helps to break down blood sugar in your body.

  • Who should not take Diabeta?

    Speak to a healthcare provide before use if any of the following apply:

    • People who have had an allergic reaction to Diabeta.
    • People with diabetic ketoacidosis.
    • People with type 1 diabetes.
    • People taking Tracleer (bosentan).

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Diabeta?

While taking Diabeta, eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly will help to manage your Type 2 diabetes. You should check your blood sugars as directed by your healthcare provider and recognize your signs and symptoms of abnormally high and low blood sugars. 

To ensure that your type 2 diabetes will not worsen and lead to further health complications, you should keep all scheduled appointments and complete the lab work with your healthcare provider so they can monitor your blood sugar control over time.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  4. American Diabetes Association. Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose).

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  7. Prescribers’ Digital Reference. Glyburide - drug summary.

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