Slideshows Images Quizzes

Copyright © 2018 by RxList Inc. RxList does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.

Definition of Sulfonylurea

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Sulfonylurea: A class of oral hypoglycemic agents (medications that lower the level of blood glucose) taken by people with type 2 diabetes. The sulfonylureas increase the secretion of insulin by the pancreas. There are two generations of sulfonylureas. The main difference between the first- and second-generation sulfonylureas is in the way they are 'eliminated from the body. As a consequence, second-generation sulfonylureas are usually taken less 'frequently each day than first-generation sulfonylureas and generally are preferred when there is poor function of the kidneys. Examples of first-'generation sulfonylureas are chlorpropamide (Diabinese) and tolbutamide (Orinase). The second-generation sulfonylureas include glipizide (Glucotrol and Glucotrol XL), glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase, and Glynase PresTab), and glimepiride (Amaryl). These drugs are effective in rapidly 'lowering blood sugar but run the risk of causing hypoglycemia.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors