Avandaryl and Blood Sugar
Avandaryl can cause low or high blood sugar levels in people taking the medication, and can even cause serious or life-threatening complications. Because prevention is the best treatment, people should be aware of the possible symptoms of high and low blood sugar levels while taking Avandaryl. Low blood sugar can cause symptoms such as sweating, extreme hunger, and dizziness. Symptoms of high blood sugar can include nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
What Are the Effects of Avandaryl on Blood Sugar Levels?
One of the possible side effects of Avandaryl® (rosiglitazone and glimepiride) is its effect on blood sugar levels. For some people, Avandaryl can cause blood sugar levels to drop too low (hypoglycemia). It is also possible for blood sugar to go too high (hyperglycemia) in people taking Avandaryl.
In September 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would be severely restricting the use of rosiglitazone, one of the active ingredients in Avandaryl, due to the risk of "cardiovascular events" such as heart attacks and strokes. Only individuals who cannot control their diabetes on other medications (or those who are already taking the medication and doing well) will be able to take Avandaryl.
Low blood sugar is the one of the most common side effects reported with Avandaryl. Based on clinical studies, it occurs in up to 5.5 percent of people taking the drug. Low blood sugar from Avandaryl is most likely due to the glimepiride component of Avandaryl. Glimepiride works by forcing the pancreas to make more insulin, which can lead to low blood sugar. Low blood sugar is more common in elderly people and in people with adrenal, pituitary, liver, or kidney problems -- as well as during fasting before surgery and after prolonged exercise.
Low blood sugar symptoms can vary depending on a number of factors, including how low the blood sugar levels are. Examples of early symptoms of low blood sugar may include:
- Extreme hunger
- Cold sweats
- Blurry vision.
More severe symptoms of low blood sugar can include:
- Changes in behavior, such as irritability
- Loss of coordination
- Difficulty speaking
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of life.
If you develop any possible symptoms of low blood sugar while on Avandaryl, contact your healthcare provider immediately or seek emergency medical care and stop taking the medicine. If your healthcare provider believes that low blood sugar is causing your symptoms, he or she may recommend that you treat the low blood sugar immediately by eating or drinking something with sugar in it, such as orange juice, hard candy, a tablespoon of honey, or even a tablespoon of granulated sugar.