- What is chlorpropamide, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for chlorpropamide?
- Is chlorpropamide available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for chlorpropamide?
- What are the side effects of chlorpropamide?
- What is the dosage for chlorpropamide?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with chlorpropamide?
- Is chlorpropamide safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about chlorpropamide?
What is chlorpropamide, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Chlorpropamide is an oral blood sugar-lowering drug in a class of medications for diabetes treatment called sulfonylureas. It is one of the first four sulfonylureas to be used to manage type II diabetes and it is commonly referred to as a first generation sulfonylurea. 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. The FDA approved chlorpropamide in October 1958.
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.
What are the side effects of chlorpropamide?
Chlorpropamide has similar side effects as other sulfonylureas.
The most common side effects of sulfonylureas are:
The above symptoms usually are avoided if the drug is ingested with a meal.
Hypoglycemia may occur during sulfonylurea therapy. Symptoms and signs include:
- heart palpitations,
- numbness around the mouth,
- tingling of the fingers,
- muscle weakness,
- blurred vision,
- sensation of cold,
- excessive yawning,
- confusion, or
- loss of consciousness.
All sulfonylureas can lower blood sugar (glucose levels) to the point of causing symptoms and signs (hypoglycemia). Therefore, these agents must be used carefully with patients who have other physical or medical factors that may lower their blood glucose. These factors include:
Sulfonylureas may cause:
- weight gain,
- sun sensitivity (skin rash), and
- allergic-type skin-reactions such as itching and hives..
Rarely, blood disorders occur; for example, low white cell counts or low red cell counts.
What is the dosage for chlorpropamide?
- The recommended dose for middle-aged stable diabetic patients is 250 mg daily. The dose may be increased or decreased by 50 to 125 mg daily at 3 to 5 day intervals.
- Older patients are started at 100 to 125 mg daily. The usual dose maintenance dose is 100 to 500 mg daily.
- Chlorpropamide should be taken 30 minutes before meals.
Which drugs or supplements interact with chlorpropamide?
Drugs that may interact with chlorpropamide and increase the risk of hypoglycemia include:
- Blood thinning agents warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
- chloramphenicol (Ak-Chlor)
- clofibrate (Atromid)
- MAO inhibitors including tranylcypromine (Parnate)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen (Motrin), and aspirin
- Sulfonamides including sulfamethoxazole (Gantanol), phenylbutazone (Azolid), and drugs that make urine more acidic including ammonium chloride.
AAlcohol may interact with chlorpropamide, to cause moderate to severe facial flushing (increased flow of blood to the face) and an increase in facial temperature.
Beta-blockers may lower or increase glucose levels when used alone. When used with sulfonylureas, beta-blocking drugs may interfere with glucose lowering by the sulfonylureas. In addition, beta-blockers can blunt some of the body's protective responses to hypoglycemia, for example, increased heart rate, thus making it difficult for patients to recognize hypoglycemia. This notwithstanding, beta-blockers have been used successfully in diabetic patients and have been associated with improved survival in diabetics with high blood pressure.
Is chlorpropamide safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Very high doses of first generation sulfonylureas have been harmful to fetuses in animal studies. No adequate safety and efficacy studies have been conducted in humans. Therefore, sulfonylureas generally are not a good choice for pregnant women.
Chlorpropamide is excreted in breast milk. Because hypoglycemia may occur in the infant who breastfeeds from a mother taking chlorpropamide, either formula feedings or discontinuation of chlorpropamide is strongly recommended in females who are nursing.
Chlorpropamide (Diabinese) is an oral medication used to strictly control blood sugar (gluclose) levels in people with diabetes. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
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Related Disease Conditions
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Treatment of diabetes depends on the type.
Diabetes Treatment: Medication, Diet, and Insulin
The major goal in treating diabetes is controlling elevated blood sugar without causing abnormally low levels of blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes is treated with: insulin, exercise, and a diabetic diet. Type 2 diabetes is first treated with: weight reduction, a diabetic diet, and exercise. When these measures fail to control the elevated blood sugar, oral medications are used. If oral medications are still insufficient, insulin medications are considered.
A diabetic diet, or diabetes diet helps keep blood glucose levels in the target range for patients. Exercise and medication may also help stabilize blood glucose levels. Keeping track of when you take your diabetic medicine, keeping track of food choices, eating the proper amount of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, and fats will also help maintain proper blood glucose levels.
What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy a condition in which nerve damage has occurred as a complication of diabetes. The pain from the nerve damage can be severe with tingling or numbness in the part of the body affected. Diabetic neuropathy can occur anywhere in the body. Diabetic neuropathy can cause symptoms like intense pain, numbness, burning, or tingling in the part of the body affected by the condition. There are four types of neuropathy include peripheral, autonomic, proximal and focal. Natural therapies and medications may help relieve the pain and other symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Diabetes Foot Problems
Diabetes related foot problems can affect your health with two problems: diabetic neuropathy, where diabetes affects the nerves, and peripheral vascular disease, where diabetes affects the flow of blood. Common foot problems for people with diabetes include athlete's foot, fungal infection of nails, calluses, corns, blisters, bunions, dry skin, foot ulcers, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts.
Eye Problems and Diabetes
Diabetes and eye problems are generally caused by high blood sugar levels over an extended period of time. Types of eye problems in a person with diabetes include glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy. Examples of symptoms include blurred vision, headaches, eye aches, pain, halos around lights, loss of vision, watering eyes. Treatment for eye problems in people with diabetes depend on the type of eye problem. Prevention of eye problems include reducing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, quitting smoking, and maintaining proper blood glucose levels.
Tips for Managing Type 1 and 2 Diabetes at Home
Managing your diabetes is a full time commitment. The goal of diabetic therapy is to control blood glucose levels and prevent the complications of diabetes. Information about exercise, diet, and medication will help you manage your diabetes better. Blood glucose reagent strips, blood glucose meters, urine glucose tests, tests for urinary ketones, continuous glucose sensors, and Hemoglobin A1C testing information will enable you to mange your diabetes at home successfully.
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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information