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Other drug names: A-Am An-Az B C-Ch Ci-Cz D-Dh Di-Dz E F G H I-J K-L M-Mh Mi-Mz N-Nh Ni-Nz O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q-R S-Sn So-Sz T-To Tp-Tz U-V W-Z 0-9   

Tolbutamide

IMPORTANT WARNING:

Oral hypoglycemic drugs, including tolbutamide, have been associated with increased cardiovascular mortality. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks, benefits, and alternatives of using this drug for your condition.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Tolbutamide is used to treat type II (noninsulin-dependent) diabetes (formerly 'adult-onset'), particularly in people whose diabetes cannot be controlled by diet alone. Tolbutamide lowers blood sugar by stimulating the pancreas to secrete insulin and helping the body use insulin efficiently. The pancreas must produce insulin for this drug to work. Tolbutamide is not used to treat type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes (formerly 'juvenile-onset').

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

Tolbutamide comes in tablets to take by mouth. It usually is taken several times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take tolbutamide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Continue to take tolbutamide even if you feel well. Do not stop taking tolbutamide without talking to your doctor.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking tolbutamide,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to tolbutamide or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially antibiotics, anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), dexamethasone (Decadron), diuretics ('water pills'), estrogens, isoniazid (INH), MAO inhibitors [phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate)], medications for high blood pressure or heart disease, niacin, oral contraceptives, phenytoin (Dilantin), prednisone, probenezid (Benemid), and vitamins.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart or kidney disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking tolbutamide, call your doctor immediately.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking tolbutamide.
  • plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Tolbutamide may make your skin sensitive to sunlight.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Be sure to follow all exercise and dietary recommendations made by your doctor or dietitian. It is important to eat a healthful diet. Alcohol increases blood sugar; ask your doctor for information on how much is safe to drink.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Before you start to take tolbutamide, ask your doctor what you should do if you forget to take a dose. Write these directions down so that you can refer to them later.

As a general rule, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it unless it is almost time for the next dose. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Although side effects from tolbutamide are not common, they can occur. If you have any of these symptoms, eat or drink a food or beverage with sugar in it, such as hard candy or fruit juice, and call your doctor immediately; symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) include:

  • shakiness
  • dizziness
  • rapid heartbeat
  • sweating or confusion
  • blurred vision
  • headache
  • numbness or tingling of the mouth
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • pale color
  • sudden hunger

If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately; symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include:

  • thirst
  • dry mouth
  • tiredness
  • flushing
  • dry skin
  • frequent urination
  • loss of appetite
  • trouble breathing

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • seizures
  • loss of consciousness
  • skin rash
  • itching or redness
  • exaggerated sunburn
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • light-colored stools
  • dark urine
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • fever
  • sore throat

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to tolbutamide.

To monitor the effectiveness of tolbutamide, measure the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood or urine (when blood sugar is above a certain high level, you will have sugar in your urine). For these measurements, you will need special paper tapes, tablets, or plastic strips that change color depending on how much sugar is present. You also can use a blood glucose meter to measure the amount of sugar in your blood. Your doctor also may ask you to test your urine for ketones (substances present when diabetes is not under control). Follow your doctor's directions for testing your urine and blood and for recording the results. If your blood sugar is high or if sugar or ketones are present in your urine, call your doctor.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT
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