Amaryl (Glimepiride)


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Active ingredient: Glimepiride

Dosages: 1mg, 2mg, 4mg

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What is Amaryl (Glimepiride)?

Amaryl, which contains the active ingredient glimepiride, is a medication commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body doesn’t use insulin properly, which causes high blood sugar levels. It  helps by increasing the amount of insulin released by the pancreas, which helps lower blood sugar levels.

You typically take the drug once a day, and it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions on how to use it to manage your diabetes effectively. It’s also a good idea to combine the medication with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

What type of drug is Amaryl?

Amaryl is classified as a sulfonylurea, which is a type of drug used to help control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Sulfonylureas work by stimulating the pancreas to release more insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use sugar for energy and keeps your blood sugar level in check. This drug, specifically, is taken as a pill and is used to help manage your blood sugar levels throughout the day.

What is Amaryl 1, 2, 4mg used for?

Amaryl comes in different strengths: 1mg, 2mg, and 4mg. These different doses allow your doctor to customize your treatment based on how much you need to control your blood sugar levels.

Here’s what each dose is typically used for:

  • 1mg: This is often the starting dose for someone who is newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It’s the smallest dose and is used to gradually begin lowering blood sugar levels.
  • 2mg and 4mg: These higher doses are used if the 1mg dose isn’t enough to effectively control the blood sugar. Your doctor might increase the dose if your blood sugar levels remain higher than they should be, even with the initial dose.

Overall, whether you are prescribed 1mg, 2mg, or 4mg, it helps in managing type 2 diabetes by reducing high blood sugar levels, helping to prevent the complications associated with diabetes, such as nerve damage, kidney issues, and heart problems.

How to take Amaryl?

Taking Amaryl is straightforward, but it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions closely to manage your diabetes effectively. Here are some simple steps on how to take the medicine:

  1. Timing: Amaryl is usually taken once a day, and it’s best to take it with the first main meal of the day, usually breakfast. This helps to control blood sugar levels throughout the day.
  2. Swallow Whole: Take the tablet whole with a glass of water. Do not crush or chew the tablet.
  3. Consistency: Try to take your dose at the same time each day. This helps keep your blood sugar levels steady.
  4. Monitoring: Keep track of your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor. This will help you and your doctor understand if it is working well for you.
  5. Diet and Exercise: Continue to follow any diet and exercise plan your doctor has recommended. Medication is most effective when combined with a healthy lifestyle.
  6. Missed Dose: If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember, but if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue on your regular schedule. Don’t take two doses at once to make up for a missed dose.

Can Amaryl be taken twice daily?

Typically, Amaryl is taken once daily because it’s designed to control blood sugar for 24 hours. It is usually taken with the first main meal of the day, often breakfast, to help reduce the risk of low blood sugar levels.

However, in some cases, your doctor might adjust the dosage and recommend that you take it in twice a day. This can depend on your individual needs, how well your blood sugar levels are being managed, and how you respond to the medication. If you’re advised to take it twice daily, you’ll likely be instructed to take the second dose with your evening meal.

How long does it take Amaryl to lower blood sugar?

Amaryl starts to work relatively quickly to lower blood sugar levels. Typically, it begins to take effect within about an hour after you take it. However, the peak effect—when the medication has the most impact on lowering your blood sugar—usually happens about two to three hours after taking a dose.

The overall duration of its effectiveness in your body can last up to 24 hours, which is why it’s generally taken once a day. Keep in mind that everyone’s body responds differently to medication, so the exact timing can vary from person to person.

To see how this drug is affecting your blood sugar levels, it’s important to regularly monitor your levels according to your doctor’s instructions. This will help both you and your healthcare provider understand if the medication is working effectively and if any adjustments to your treatment are needed.

What is the most common side effect of Amaryl?

The most common side effect of Amaryl is low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia. When it lowers your blood sugar, sometimes it can go too low, especially if you haven’t eaten enough, wait too long between meals, or exercise more than usual.

Signs of low blood sugar can include feeling shaky, dizzy, hungry, or confused. You might also experience sweating, feeling jittery, or having a headache. It’s important to recognize these signs because treating low blood sugar quickly is crucial.

To help prevent low blood sugar, it’s important to eat regular meals, monitor your blood sugar levels as advised by your doctor, and carry a quick source of sugar (like glucose tablets or juice) in case your blood sugar levels drop too low. If you frequently experience symptoms of low blood sugar, talk to your doctor. They may need to adjust your medication or diet.

What are the contraindications for Amaryl?

  • Allergy to Sulfonylureas: Avoid use if you’re allergic to sulfonylureas or any component of the medication.
  • Type 1 Diabetes: Not suitable for treating type 1 diabetes, which requires different insulin management.
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis: This condition must be treated with insulin, not this medication.
  • Severe Kidney or Liver Disease: Not recommended if you have significant kidney or liver issues due to processing concerns.

What drugs interact with Glimepiride Amaryl?

  • NSAIDs (like aspirin, ibuprofen): Can increase the risk of low blood sugar.
  • Beta-Blockers (such as metoprolol): May hide symptoms of low blood sugar.
  • Antibiotics (specifically sulfonamides): Can raise the risk of low blood sugar.
  • Blood Thinners (like warfarin): Could lead to increased bleeding.
  • Diuretics: Affect blood sugar levels and how the drug works.
  • Steroids (such as prednisone): Can increase blood sugar levels.
  • Other Diabetes Medications: May heighten the risk of low blood sugar.

Can you drink alcohol with Amaryl?

Drinking alcohol while taking Amaryl (Glimepiride) can be risky and is generally not recommended. Here’s why:

  1. Increased Risk of Low Blood Sugar: Alcohol can lower blood sugar levels, and when combined with the described drug, this effect can be enhanced, potentially leading to dangerously low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).
  2. Delayed Reaction: Alcohol might also delay the recovery from low blood sugar, making it harder to treat.
  3. Liver Stress: Both Amaryl and alcohol are processed through the liver. Drinking alcohol can affect how the liver processes the medication, which could lead to either an increase or decrease in the effectiveness of the applied drug.

Disclaimer: This document does not cover all information about this medication and should not be used as a substitute for the medication guide, a consultation with a pharmacist, or advice from your healthcare provider. For the full medication guide, more detailed information, or any further questions, please contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider directly. It is essential to follow their advice and the official medication guide to ensure the medication is used safely and effectively. Always talk to your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication regimen and report any unexpected side effects or concerns immediately. Your pharmacist and healthcare provider are the best resources for information and support regarding your health and medications.

By Linda A. Martinez, PhD
Medically Reviewed by Steven Sherman
Last Update: June 29, 2024