Sulfonylureas: Medicines involved

Last updated: June 11, 2020

Gliclazide molecule
There are five sulfonylureas available in the UK. Doses should usually be given with or shortly before a meal (check manufacturers' instructions). Often this meal is breakfast if the medicine is given once daily, so patients must always eat breakfast when taking these medicines to reduce the risk of hypoglycaemia. They should also eat other meals at regular times and not skip meals.

If a sulfonylurea is used, the preferred choices in the elderly are the shorter-acting medicines: Gliclazide, Glipizide, Glimepiride, and Tolbutamide

Please check the BNF or SPCs for full prescribing information.

Glibenclamide is a longer-acting drug that is more likely to cause hypoglycaemia, and so is less favoured in the elderly.

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