If you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor might suggest Amaryl as a treatment option for you. It’s a prescription drug used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults.

The active ingredient in Amaryl is glimepiride. (The active ingredient is what makes the drug work.)

Amaryl comes as a tablet that you swallow. It’s often taken together with other diabetes medications.

You’ll usually take Amaryl long term. For more information about this drug, including details about its uses, see this in-depth article.

Like other drugs, Amaryl can cause mild to serious side effects. One of the more common side effects is hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Keep reading to learn more.

Some people experience mild to serious side effects. Most of the side effects of Amaryl are mild. Side effects are reported.

The side effects explained section is where you can learn more about this side effect.

There are a number of side effects that may be caused by Amaryl. Some people who take this drug will have side effects.

Some people have mild side effects from the drug. People who have mild side effects can usually be treated with a drug. Mild side effects have been reported with the drug.

The side effects explained section is where you can learn more about this side effect.

These side effects should be temporary. Some may be easy to manage. If you have any symptoms that bother you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Unless your doctor recommends it, you should not stop taking it.

Amaryl may cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. See Amaryl’s prescribing information for details.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Amaryl, visit MedWatch.

Serious side effects from Amaryl are rare. And they’re more likely to occur in people who have had kidney problems or are taking other diabetes medications. Let your doctor know right away if you have a serious side effect, as this may be a medical emergency.

There have been serious side effects reported with the drug.

If you develop serious side effects while taking the drug, call your doctor. If the side effects seem life threatening or if you think you have a medical emergency, immediately call the emergency number.

The side effects explained section is where you can learn more about this side effect.

Answers to some questions about the side effects of Amaryl are available.

Does Amaryl have any negative effects on the kidneys?

No, Amaryl doesn’t harm your kidneys. But if you have kidney problems, using this drug may increase your risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Adults ages 65 and older and people with low kidney function were more likely to have low blood sugar in studies of Amaryl.

“If you have a problem with your kidneys, your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of the drug. The lowest dose of the drug is 1 gram per day. Your doctor will increase your dose slowly because you are more likely to have low blood sugar. They won’t increase it more often than once a week.”

Talk with your doctor about how to monitor your blood sugar while you’re taking Amaryl.

Can the Amaryl 2-mg tablet increase my risk of side effects compared with the 1-mg tablet?

Yes, the 2-milligram (mg) tablet may increase your risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) more than the 1-mg tablet. But low blood sugar wasn’t a common side effect in Amaryl studies.

You can avoid this side effect by monitoring your blood sugar carefully. If you have questions about how to do this or the risk of side effects with your specific dose, talk with your doctor.

Will low blood sugar make it hard for me to concentrate?

Yes, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) makes it difficult to concentrate. If you have difficulty thinking clearly, check your blood sugar level.

In studies of Amaryl, doctors observed that some people were accidentally injured. But it wasn’t clear if this was due to low blood sugar making them less alert.

You should avoid driving and other activities that require you to be alert until you know how the drug affects you. Talk to your doctor about any symptoms of low blood sugar.

Can Amaryl be used in children?

No, doctors do not usually prescribe Amaryl for children. Studies of Amaryl in children showed side effects of weight gain and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). These side effects were not considered safe.

Talk to your doctor about the right medication for your child.

Some of the side effects of Amaryl can be found.

Weight gain

Weight gain was commonly reported in studies of Amaryl, but it was slight. The average weight gain in people who took Amaryl in these studies was about 1.8 kilograms (kg).*

People who took a higher dose of the drug had this side effect more often. The higher doses are 8 or 4 milligrams per day. The lower doses are used for a short time.

The weight of 2.2 pounds is 1 kg.

What might help

There are ways to reduce the effects of taking a drug.

You can make changes to your diet and exercise routines. A balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise will also help you manage your diabetes symptoms.

If you need help setting and reaching diet and exercise goals, talk to a doctor.

Liver damage

Elevated levels of a liver enzyme called alanine aminotransferase were reported in Amaryl studies. This is sometimes a sign of liver damage. You won’t notice symptoms of mildly elevated liver enzymes, but your doctor may notice higher levels of these enzymes on a blood test. (See “What might help” just below.)

Amaryl studies did not identify liver damage, but it was reported by people who took the drug after it became available on the market. It’s not clear whether Amaryl was the direct cause. The following types of liver damage were reported:

What might help

Your doctor will monitor your blood while you’re taking Amaryl. One of the blood tests will be a liver function test. But be sure to talk with your doctor about symptoms to watch for if your liver isn’t working well.

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

Low blood sugar was a common side effect in studies of Amaryl. When you have type 2 diabetes, your blood sugar level is too high. Amaryl helps lower your blood sugar to a level that is healthy for you, but sometimes it can get too low. All diabetes medications can cause this side effect.

Low blood sugar can cause symptoms.

Symptoms of very low blood sugar include seizure or loss of consciousness. In extreme cases, very low blood sugar can be life threatening or cause permanent damage.

What might help

“Your doctor recommends that you check your levels frequently. You can increase your blood sugar by eating or drinking 15 grams of sugar in the form of tablets, juice, or non- diet soda. After 15 minutes, you should check your blood sugar again to see if it is at a healthy level. You can repeat this process if you don’t have any problems. If you need a snack or meal, you can either eat it or take it.”

Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar levels in check while you sleep.

Hemolytic anemia

Amaryl studies didn’t show hemolytic anemia (damage to red blood cells that carry oxygen). But there have been reports of this side effect since the drug came on the market. These reports were from people with a genetic condition called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency and also from some without it.

Hemolytic anemia is a problem with your red blood cells. Your bone marrow makes red blood cells. If it’s not making new red blood cells as fast as your body is removing old ones, your body tissues do not receive enough oxygen.

The following are symptoms of hemolytic anemia.

What might help?

Hemolytic anemia is a serious condition that needs treatment at a healthcare facility. You might need a red blood cell transfusion or surgery. If you have this side effect from taking Amaryl, your doctor will likely choose a different treatment option for your type 2 diabetes.

Talk with your doctor about G6PD testing and your risk of hemolytic anemia.

Allergic reaction

Like most drugs, Amaryl can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Allergic reaction was not seen during studies of Amaryl, but there have been reports of this side effect in people taking this drug. But it’s unclear how often this has happened or if Amaryl was the cause.

Mild to serious symptoms can be present.

  • There is a skin rash.
  • It is itchy.
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • “It’s usually under your skin, but it can be anywhere.”
  • It can be hard to breathe if you have swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat.

There are also rare reports of people developing Stevens-Johnson syndrome when taking Amaryl. This is a serious skin reaction that requires immediate medical treatment, as it can be life threatening. Symptoms can include:

  • flu-like symptoms or feeling generally unwell
  • red or purple There is a skin rash. that peels, blisters, or ruptures
  • As time goes on, the body aches and pains get worse.

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest an over-the-counter oral antihistamine, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine), or a topical product, such as hydrocortisone cream, to manage your symptoms.

If your doctor confirms that you have an allergic reaction to Amaryl, they will decide if you should continue taking it.

If you have a severe allergic reaction, you should call the emergency number. These symptoms could be life threatening and need immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms you have an allergic reaction to Amaryl, they may want you to switch to another treatment.

Keeping track of side effects

Take notes on any side effects you are having during your treatment. You can share this information with your doctor. This is helpful when you are starting to use a combination of treatments.

Side effect notes can include things.

  • When you had the side effect, what dose of the drug was taking?
  • How soon did you experience the side effect?
  • What are your symptoms?
  • How did it affect your daily activities?
  • What other drugs were you taking?
  • Other information is important to you.

Sharing notes with your doctor will help them learn more about how the drug affects you. If needed, they can use this information to adjust your treatment plan.

If you have a medical condition that affects your health, amaryl may not be right for you. Before starting Amaryl, talk to your doctor about your health history. Some factors to consider.

Kidney problems. Your kidneys remove Amaryl from your body. So if you have kidney problems, Amaryl can stay in your body for a longer time. This means you’re at an increased risk of side effects such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Discuss your dose with your doctor. They may prescribe a lower dose due to the risk of side effects.

Older adults. Amaryl can take longer to leave your body if you’re ages 65 years and older. Your doctor may still prescribe Amaryl but at a lower dose. Talk with them about the best dose for you.

Taking certain medications. If you’re already taking certain drugs to treat type 2 diabetes, Amaryl may not be the best treatment option for you. Medications for diabetes, such as insulin, may lower blood sugar. Amaryl also lowers blood sugar. If taken together, you may be at increased risk of this side effect.

Drugs you take for other conditions may affect how well Amaryl works. Before starting Amaryl, you should talk to your doctor about all your medication.

G6PD deficiency. If you have a genetic condition called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, your doctor may choose a different medication for you.

People with G6PD deficiency are at risk of hemolytic anemia if they take any sulfonylurea, including Amaryl. With hemolytic anemia, the red blood cells in your body get damaged. Talk with your doctor about your other treatment options if you have this condition.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Amaryl or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe it for you. If you have a sulfa allergy, you may also be allergic to Amaryl. Ask your doctor about other treatments that are better options for you.

While not seen in studies, there have been reports of people having serious allergic reactions, called hypersensitivity reactions, to Amaryl. These reactions were rare, but they are medical emergencies and include:

Side effects explained above is where more information on this syndrome can be found.

Alcohol and Amaryl

Alcohol may affect how well Amaryl works. Drinking alcohol may also increase your risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much, if any, is safe to drink while taking Amaryl.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Amaryl

If you take Amaryl while pregnant, it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels to ensure they don’t get too low. Studies of Amaryl showed that hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) caused fetal harm, especially in the 2 weeks before birth. The manufacturer of Amaryl recommends stopping the drug at least 2 weeks before the expected birth date.

If you are prescribed a drug for breastfeeding, your doctor may also discuss with you signs of low blood sugar in an infant.

Talk with your doctor about pregnancy and breastfeeding while you’re taking Amaryl. Due to the risks of low blood sugar, your doctor may monitor you closely or choose a different treatment for your type 2 diabetes.

Amaryl is usually a long-term treatment for type 2 diabetes, so you may have questions for your doctor about side effects. This drug has several common side effects that your doctor can help you manage. If you’re considering Amaryl, here are a few questions to ask them:

  • How likely am I to develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) as a side effect of Amaryl?
  • Does the drug Amaryl interact with other drugs I take?
  • How can I manage a mild Amaryl side effect, such as nausea?
  • Is there any way to avoid weight gain while taking a drug?

For tips on managing your condition, sign up for the Healthline type 2 diabetes newsletter. And if you’re looking for a supportive online community of people living with the same condition, consider joining Bezzy T2D.

Q:

I think I have a sulfa allergy. Is it safe for me to take Amaryl?

Anonymous

A:

Amaryl is in a drug class called sulfonylureas, which means it contains sulfa as an ingredient. Some people with a sulfa allergy will react negatively to Amaryl.

Amaryl is contraindicated in people who have had an allergic reaction to a sulfa-containing drug. A contraindication is a factor or condition that could prevent your doctor from prescribing a drug due to the risk of harm.

If you have a sulfa allergy, talk with your doctor about whether a different type 2 diabetes treatment is better for you.

The Healthline Pharmacist TeamAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.