Antidiabetics (sometimes known as hypoglycemics) are medications which are used to treat diabetes mellitus.

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease in which the body is unable to properly utilize glucose as a cellular energy source. This may be due to either inadequate production of insulin by the pancreas, or by an inadequate response to insulin (insulin resistance).

Insulin's role in the body is to facilitate the transport of glucose into the cells, where it can be metabolized to provide energy. When this mechanism does not function properly, glucose builds up in the bloodstream, while the cells are starved for energy. This accounts for the high blood glucose level, excessive hunger and fatigue of the untreated diabetic. If diabetes is not treated, the body breaks down fat to use as fuel. This leads to the buildup of fatty acids and ketones in the bloodstream, causing diabetic ketoacidosis. There are a host of other complications as well, such as diabetic retinopathy, peripheral neuropathy, kidney failure, an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and many more.

Antidiabetic agents allow the body to resume its normal process of energy generation and prevent blood glucose levels from becoming dangerously high.


Brand/Generic Drug Names

chlorpropamide, glipizide, glyburide, insulin, metformin, tolbutamide I know there are about two dozen more out there - I'll add them later..
Common uses
Insulins: ketoacidosis, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
Oral antidiabetics: stable adult-onset NIDDM
Insulins: decrease blood sugar, phosphate and potassium, increase blood pyruvate and lactate
Oral antidiabetics: cause functioning beta-cells in the pancreas to release insulin, improve the effect of insulin
Class contraindications
allergy; oral antidiabetics: juvenile, brittle diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis, severe renal or hepatic disease
Class precautions
elderly, cardiac disease, pregnancy, lactation, alcohol
varies by drug
Adverse Reactions
hypoglycemia, blood dyscrasias, hepatotoxicity, cholestatic jaundice, allergic reaction
Additional Information
Assess glucose levels, fasting glucose
Administer at room temperature to prevent lipodystrophy
Rotate injection sites
Evaluate therapeutic response: decrease in polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia, clear sensorium, absence of dizziness, stable gait
Date of most recent Update
August 06, 2002
Further information is available in the writeup for the specific name(s) of this medication class

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