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The Rx Files: Q&A Summary
Hypoglycemic Drug Interactions
DRAFT - October 2001
See also chart, Page 2
1. What drugs should not be used in combination with oral hypoglycemics?
Despite numerous interactions affecting hypoglycemics, few are of major significance. These agents can be used
relatively safely with almost all other medications with a couple notable exceptions:
Phenylbutazone – can cause severe hypoglycemia when given together with oral sulfonylureas, due to
displacement of these agents from plasma protein binding sites and inhibition of their metabolic clearance. Tolbutamide
is affected the most. One of the earliest NSAIDs, phenylbutazone is seldom prescribed but is occasionally found in
Mexican drug products touted as antiarthritics. Phenylbutazone should be avoided and an alternate NSAID used. Highdose ASA (aspirin) and other salicylates can cause similar effects but to a lesser degree. (Low-dose ASA is usually
indicated in persons with diabetes to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.)
Alcohol – can cause a disulfiram-like reaction when taken in combination with oral sulfonylureas,
particularly chlorpropamide. Persons experience flushing, sensations of warmth, dizziness, nausea and
tachycardia. Alcohol is best avoided since the amount consumed does not necessarily correlate with occurrence or
severity of the reaction. Diabetics not prescribed sulfonylureas are also wise to abstain or limit alcohol
consumption as it has adverse effects on glycemic control with a tendency towards hypoglycemia. Pre-existing
hypoglycemia can be potentiated. Acute and chronic alcohol consumption can also affect metabolic clearance of
some hypoglycemics, further contributing to loss of glycemic control.
2. Since many diabetics have or develop concurrent cardiovascular disease, what effect do cardiac
medications have on hypoglycemic efficacy?
Although there are numerous interactions between hypoglycemics and some of the major classes of cardiac drugs,
the majority are of moderate clinical significance. Most can be managed with more frequent blood sugar
monitoring and dose adjustments if use of alternate agents is not readily convenient. These include:
• Antihypertensives:
Thiazide diuretics and furosemide – tend to cause hyperglycemia
Calcium channel blockers (1st generation particularly nifedipine) – can cause hyperglycemia
Beta blockers – can mask signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia (except sweating); also some inhibition of
glycogenolysis and insulin secretion; cardioselective agents such as acebutolol MONITAN, SECTRAL, atenolol
TENORMIN, bisoprolol MONOCOR, or metoprolol LOPRESOR,BETALOC may be safer.
• Antihyperlipidemics:
Fibrate antihyperlipidemics and some beta blockers – can displace sulfonylureas and repaglinide GLUCONORM
from plasma protein binding thereby potentiating their effects & possibly causing hypoglycemia
Cholestyramine – increases the hypoglycemic effect of acarbose
Nicotinic acid – worsens glycemic control & possibly increases insulin resistance
• Hypoglycemics
Acarbose and Miglitol - can reduce the absorption of digoxin and propranolol
Metformin - renal clearance can be delayed by digoxin, quinidine, procainamide, amiloride and triamterene
(found in K+ sparing diuretic combos).
Prepared by Sharon Downey BSP, in consultation with RxFiles advisors & reviewers.
Copyright 2001 Saskatoon District Health; All Rights Reserved.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this newsletter represents the research, experience and opinions of the authors and not those of the Board or Administration of
Saskatoon District Health. Neither the authors nor Saskatoon District Health nor any other party who has been involved in the preparation or publication of this
work warrants or represents that the information contained herein is accurate or complete, and they are not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the
result obtained from the use of such information. Any use of the newsletter will imply acknowledgment of this disclaimer and release any responsibility of
Saskatoon District Health, it employees, servants or agents. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained herein with other sources.
www.sdh.sk.ca/RxFiles
The Rx Files: Q&A Summary
DRAFT
DRAFT - October 2001
Hypoglycemic Agents: Drug Interactions 1,2,3
Drug
Chlorpropamide
(SU-1)
Gliclazide
Effects Increased by:
Effects Decreased by:
(Potential for Hypoglycemia)
(Potential for Hyperglycemia)
Displacement from
PlasmaProteinBinding (PPB) :
Phenylbutazone,
Alcohol: disulfiram-like rx
Tolbutamide
(SU-1)
• cytochrome P450
substrate (CYP
2C8/9/18) and
inhibitor (CYP 2C19)
Metformin
GLUCOPHAGE
•negligible PPB
• flushing, warmth,
dizziness, nausea,
tachycardia
• .>>>chlorpropamide but
also reported with other SUs
↑ metabolism:
Fibrates
Alcohol-chronic use
Fluoroquinolones (with Glyburide)
(SU-2)
Rifampin
Oral anticoagulants
Glyburide
Phenytoin
DIABETA
Salicylates
• highly PPB
Sulfonamides
• cytochrome P450
Drugs potentiating hypoglycemia:
substrate (CYP 3A3/4)
↓ Renal clearance: Alcohol
(SU-2)
Fibrates
*Beta Blockers
Salicylates
MAOIs
Sulfonamides
Tricyclic antidepressants
DIAMICRON
Other Interactions:
↓ Metabolism:
Azole antifungals (Tolbutamide)
Chloramphenicol (with chlorpropamide &
tolbutamide)
Cimetidine (with Glyburide, Gliclazide &
Tolbutamide)
Sulfonamides
↓ Renal clearance (Cationic drugs):
Amiloride
Cimetidine
Digoxin
Morphine
Procainamide
Triamterene
Quinine & Quinidine
Trimethoprim
Drugs causing
hyperglycemia:
Beta Blockers
Calcium Channel
Blockers, some
Corticosteroids, some
Estrogens/ oral
contraceptives
Furosemide
Isoniazid
Phenothiazines
Phenytoin
Nicotinic Acid
Sympathomimetics
(e.g. decongestants)
Thiazides
Thyroid hormones
Oral anticoagulants: may be
affected due to PPB
displacement and altered
metabolism
• initially = ↑ effect
• chronically = ↓ effect
H2 Antagonists, Proton
Pump inhibitors &
Antacids: can ↑ absorption;
also ↑ effect of glyburide
& gliclazide
Alcohol: may potentiate
metformin’s effect on lactate
metabolism
Vancomycin
Acarbose
PRANDASE
Cholestyramine
Miglitol
GLYSET
Pioglitazone
ACTOS
Rosiglitazone
↓ Absorption:
Amylase
Charcoal
Pancreatin
Cytochrome P450 substrates so potential
for some DIs as yet unknown
AVANDIA
Repaglinide
GLUCONORM
•Cytochrome
P450 substrate
(CYP3A4)
•highly protein
bound
Displacement:
↓ Metabolism:
Beta Blockers, some Azole antifungals
Chloramphenicol
Erythromycin
MAOIs
Phenylbutazone
Phenytoin
Salicylates
Sulfomamides
↓ absorption & effect of:
Digoxin
Propranolol
Ranitidine
Oral contraceptives:
pioglitazone may ↑ their
metabolism and ↓ efficacy
↑ Metabolism:
Barbiturates
Carbamazepine
Rifampin
Bolded drugs = major interactions. Avoid combination and use alternate agents.
All other drugs = moderate to mild interactions. More frequent blood glucose monitoring and dose adjustments may be required.
* Beta Blockers mask signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia (e.g. tachycardia, tremor, blurred vision, hunger & headache) except sweating;
also impair insulin release and glycogenolysis; cardioselective agents maybe safer (acebutolol, atenolol, bisoprolol, metoprolol).
DIs = drug interactions MAOIs = monoamine oxidase inhibitors PPB = plasma protein binding
SUs = sulfonylureas SU-1 = first generation SU SU-2 = 2nd generation SU.
www.sdh.sk.ca/RxFiles
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