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DiaBeta is used together with diet and exercise to control non-insulin-dependent, or Type II, diabetes. This condition, formerly called “adult-onset” diabetes, seems to result when the body does not respond adequately to insulin made by the pancreas.

This pill seems to stimulate the pancreas to make more insulin and encourages greater sensitivity to insulin in the body.

Side Effects and Interactions

Episodes of dangerously low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, are a hazard with DiaBeta as with any oral diabetes drug. Be alert for symptoms of fatigue, shakiness, headache, cold sweat or confusion, as they could signal this hazardous reaction.

Be sure to discuss the symptoms and treatment of hypoglycemia with your healthcare provider.

Other possible side effects of this medication include nausea, heartburn, skin rash, changes in liver enzymes, susceptibility to sunburn, ringing in the ears and blood changes. Fever, sore throat and bruising or bleeding could signal a rare but serious reaction that requires immediate attention.

Report any symptoms or suspected side effects without delay.

A number of compounds may interact with DiaBeta. Alcohol should be avoided if you are on this drug, as it could cause low blood sugar. Other drugs that might lead to drops in blood sugar include large doses of aspirin, the ulcer drugs Tagamet and Zantac, the cholesterol medicine Lopid and the MAO inhibitor antidepressants Marplan and Nardil. Be aware that a magnesium-based antacid like Maalox or laxative like Milk of Magnesia could boost the power of DiaBeta and lead to unexpectedly low blood sugar levels.

Many blood pressure pills and heart medicines may also interact with DiaBeta. Of special concern are the beta blockers such as CorgardInderal LA or Tenormin, because they may mask the warning symptoms of hypoglycemia. Thiazide diuretics like HydroDIURIL or Lozol can raise blood sugar and may interfere with DiaBeta’s effects.

It’s possible that juniper berries may turn out to lower blood sugar; if so, they would interact with diabetes medicines such as DiaBeta. Close monitoring of blood sugar is advised. There is a possibility that garlic could interact with drugs that lower blood sugar. Careful monitoring is suggested for anyone combining garlic products with glyburide.

Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure DiaBeta is safe in combination with any other drugs and herbs you take.

Taking the Medicine

DiaBeta may be taken with food, especially if it upsets your stomach. The manufacturer suggests that it be taken with breakfast or the first meal of the day.

Special Precautions

DiaBeta must not be taken by people who are allergic to sulfa drugs.

Your doctor will need frequent blood tests to adjust the dose of DiaBeta when you begin taking it.

Illness or a change in your exercise program may also make it necessary to adjust the dose later on.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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