Back to Document

Acetohexamide tablets

What are acetohexamide tablets?

ACETOHEXAMIDE helps to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. Treatment is combined with a suitable diet and balanced exercise. Acetohexamide increases the amount of insulin released from the pancreas and helps your body to use insulin more efficiently. Generic acetohexamide tablets are available.

NOTE: This drug is discontinued in the United States.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • kidney disease

  • liver disease

  • major surgery

  • porphyria

  • severe infection or injury

  • thyroid disease

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to acetohexamide, sulfonamides, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take acetohexamide tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. If you take acetohexamide once a day, take it 30 minutes before breakfast. If you take it twice a day, it is best to take it before breakfast and the evening meal. If acetohexamide upsets your stomach take it with food or milk. Take your doses at the same time each day; do not take more often than directed.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

Elderly patients over 65 years old may have a stronger reaction and need a smaller dose.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What drug(s) may interact with acetohexamide?

  • alcohol

  • beta-blockers (used for high blood pressure or heart conditions)

  • cisapride

  • clofibrate

  • diazoxide

  • medicines for fungal or yeast infections (examples: itraconazole, ketonazole, voriconazole)

  • metoclopramide

  • rifampin

  • warfarin (a blood thinner)

Many medications may cause changes (increase or decrease) in blood sugar, these include:

  • alcohol containing beverages

  • aspirin and aspirin-like drugs

  • beta-blockers, often used for high blood pressure or heart problems (examples include atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol)

  • chromium

  • female hormones, such as estrogens or progestins, birth control pills

  • isoniazid

  • male hormones or anabolic steroids

  • medications for weight loss

  • medicines for allergies, asthma, cold, or cough

  • niacin

  • pentamidine

  • phenytoin

  • quinolone antibiotics (examples: ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, ofloxacin)

  • some herbal dietary supplements

  • steroid medicines such as prednisone or cortisone

  • thyroid hormones

  • water pills (diuretics)

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What should I watch for while taking acetohexamide?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Learn how to monitor blood or urine sugar and urine ketones regularly. Check with your prescriber or health care professional if your blood sugar is high, you may need a change of dose of acetohexamide. Do not skip meals. If you are exercising much more than usual you may need extra snacks to avoid side effects caused by low blood sugar. Alcohol can increase possible side effects of acetohexamide. Ask your prescriber or health care professional if you should avoid alcohol. If you have mild symptoms of low blood sugar, eat or drink something containing sugar at once and contact your prescriber or health care professional. It is wise to check your blood sugar to confirm that it is low. It is important to recognize your own symptoms of low blood sugar so that you can treat them quickly. Make sure family members know that you can choke if you eat or drink when you have serious symptoms of low blood sugar, such as seizures or unconsciousness. They must get medical help at once.

Acetohexamide can increase the sensitivity of your skin to the sun. Keep out of the sun, or wear protective clothing outdoors and use a sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or sun tanning beds or booths.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking acetohexamide.

Wear a medical identification bracelet or chain to say you have diabetes, and carry a card that lists all your medications.

What side effects may I notice from taking acetohexamide?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) which can cause symptoms such as anxiety or nervousness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, hunger, pale skin, nausea, fatigue, perspiration, headache, palpitations, numbness of the mouth, tingling in the fingers, tremors, muscle weakness, blurred vision, cold sensations, uncontrolled yawning, irritability, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, and loss of consciousness.

  • breathing difficulties, severe skin reactions or excessive phlegm, which may indicate that you are having an allergic reaction to the drug.

  • dark yellow or brown urine, or yellowing of the eyes or skin, indicating that the drug is affecting your liver.

  • fever, chills, sore throat; which means the drug may be affecting your immune system.

  • unusual bleeding or bruising; which occurs when the drug is affecting your blood clotting system.

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea

  • headache

  • heartburn

  • increased sensitivity to the sun

  • nausea, vomiting

  • stomach discomfort

  • skin rash, redness, swelling or itching

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.