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Diabetes Care. 1989 Mar;12(3):203-8.

Symptomatic hypoglycemia in NIDDM patients treated with oral hypoglycemic agents.

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  • 1Diabetes Unit, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, England, United Kingdom.


We assessed the prevalence of hypoglycemic symptoms in patients (aged 40-65 yr) treated with oral hypoglycemic agents (OHAs) attending routine diabetes clinics at our hospital. Symptoms were experienced during the previous 6 mo in 41 of 203 (20.2%) patients treated with sulfonylureas but in none of the 16 patients treated with metformin alone. Hypoglycemic symptoms were experienced at least monthly in 5.9% and less frequently in 14.3% of patients. The prevalence of symptoms decreased with increasing duration of sulfonylurea administration (P less than .01). Mean glycosylated hemoglobin and postprandial plasma glucose were significantly lower in patients reporting hypoglycemic symptoms than in those without symptoms (P less than .001). The prevalence of hypoglycemic symptoms was significantly higher in patients treated with glyburide than in patients treated with gliclazide (P less than .01) or chlorpropamide (P less than .05). The prevalence of symptoms was higher in patients taking medications in addition to OHAs (P less than .01). Ten (24%) of the patients who experienced hypoglycemic symptoms were taking drugs that may potentiate sulfonylureas.

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