GENERIC NAME: acetohexamide, chlorpropamide, tolazamide and tolbutamide
BRAND NAME: Diabinese, Orinase, Tolinase
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Acetohexamide, chlorpropamide, tolazamide and tolbutamide are oral blood sugar-lowering drugs in a class of medications for diabetes called sulfonylureas. They were the first four sulfonylureas to be used to manage type II diabetes and are commonly referred to as first generation sulfonylureas. The second generation sulfonylureas are glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL), glyburide (Micronase), and glimepiride (Amaryl). The primary difference between the first and second generation sulfonylureas is in the way they are eliminated from the body. As a result, second generation sulfonylureas usually are taken less frequently each day than first generation sulfonylureas and generally are preferred when there is poor function of the kidneys. The second generation sulfonylureas were first used in the United States in 1984.
All sulfonylureas lower blood sugar (glucose) by increasing the release of insulin from the pancreas. (Insulin is the hormone that lowers the blood sugar level.)
Approximately 90% of patients with diabetes have type II diabetes, formerly called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Type II diabetes usually occurs in adults and is associated with obesity and a strong family history of diabetes. The inability to control blood glucose in type II diabetes is caused by reduced insulin release by the pancreas as well as decreased removal of glucose from the blood by the body's cells.
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