Allergic Reactions to Meds

Does anyone out there take Diamicron (gliclazide)? I’ve had what I consider to be a severe allergic reaction to this drug. It was taking me 3 strong allergy pills a day to manage the symptoms. I’ve had to go against Doctor’s orders and discontinue this drug. Oddly enough my numbers plunged almost immediately! Double digits became singles!! I wasn’t expecting that! Still have the “Dawn Effect” so I maintained the Metformin… doesn’t seem to help much. It is so great to know that there are others out there who have high sugars in the morning.

I guess I mean it’s great to know that there are people out there who have tips on how to manage high morning sugars.

Although Gliclazide is not sold in the U.S., I was rx’d a very similar sulfonylurea for years for my T2: Glipizide. I managed my blood sugar levels quite well on that med, but the one side effect that it had for me was extreme sensitivity to radiation (sunlight and computer screen). I hated that side effect, but I stayed on the med because it did such a good job of helping me keep my diabetes in control. A problem with all oral diabetic medications is that there is the potential for allergic reactions and bothersome side effects.

After years of taking Glipizide, I learned that sulfonylureas in general are not necessarily the best class of anti-diabetic drugs. They put a heavy load on your pancreas, and doctors have told me that they can cause the pancreas to burn out. I don’t know whether or not that is really true, but that is what I have been told by more than one doctor treating me for diabetes. Here in the U.S. there is a move in general to shift T2s away from sulfonylureas.

If you’re going to be rx’d oral meds for your T2, it’s too bad that Metformin is not working for you. That is often the first choice of oral meds rx’d for T2 diabetes. I simply could not tolerate the side effects of Metformin, so my GP put me one Actos and Januvia which had other side effects.

I got tired of the side effects of the oral medications and voluntarily opted for insulin, and I am so glad I did. Now I have no nasty side effects to confront each day. I inject before I go to bed each night and before every meal, but the shots (NovoLog and Lantus pens) are not a problem. They actually are much less painful than a finger stick. Anyway, they work for me and only wish I had gone the MDI route years ago.

Peetie, I hope you find a therapy that works for you. Best of luck.

The neurologist hinted that glipizide might have been the cause of my diabetic amyotrophic neuropathy. I was only on it for a month, but it took me two years to recover about 70% of my leg muscle function. The nerves are still shot. The neurologist said glipizide might have caused an autoimmune reaction to my own insulin. This is one reason why I work really hard to control my diabetes with diet alone. I’m thankful I’ve been able to do that. (T2, A1C 5.1, low carb and very boring diet)

I am sorry that you are having problems with gliclazide. You do not say what the symptoms are but I suppose all things are possible, however rare. I remember being told that after an extreme allergic reaction to wasp stings (I was anaphalactic) that I did not need an Epi-pen during the summer as the reaction is very rare! That summer I read of about 10 deaths in the UK because of wasp stings! Just because it is rare, does not mean that it does not happen! I do not know of the side effects of gliclazide as I stopped taking it rather quickly and went on to insulin - to which I was allergic! It took a good several years before I could persuade doctors to give me pork insulin which suits me a lot better!

Thank you so much for all your comments. I have stopped the diamicron and haven’t needed an allergy pill since. I wonder why diamicron is not available in the US??? My numbers were climbing at an alarming rate and suddenly they are not so bad. The intense internal and external itching has completely stopped. The blisters have healed. It is so difficult to distinguish between side effects and high sugar effects I just don’t know how everyone does it. Thanks for the heads-up on the insulin allergies. It must have been so difficult to figure that out. Hope everyone is healthy today!

I have found that often doctors are blind to medication side effects. It is quite easy to “blame” the patient. Sometimes, as a patient, we must defend ourselves. And to do that it may take being informed and “aggressive.” This is why it is always a good idea to read the prescribing information on your medications. And if you experience listed side effects, tell your doctor, point it out as a known side effect. But also be prepared to stand your ground and refuse a medication that may harm your health or kill you.

In the case of your drug (a specific sulfonylurea, Gliclazide), reasons to consider NOT taking the drug include:

Allergy to sulfonylurea antidiabetic agents, sulfonamides, or thiazide diuretics

and the prescribing physician is cautioned to balance the risks and benefits when there is an

Allergy to sulfonylurea antidiabetic agents, sulfonamides, or thiazide-type diuretics

Given this information, any doctor on the ball should have recognized the symptoms and reacted by taking you off the medication.

There are different formulations of sulfonylureas available in different countries, often the same thing with different brand names. There are a number of sulfonylureas available in the US.

Thanks bsc! I did tell the doctor about the caution about allergies and he brushed me off. I think he must think that I read about the side effects and then imagined them. I hate being a non-compliant diabetic. I just don’t know what else to do. In March, he told me my kidney numbers were up 8 points. When I asked in May he said they were now only 2 points up. “I think you must have a bladder infection”, he said as he closed the file and left the room. Not sure what I was supposed to do about that. Luckily, I am having a tooth extraction today and, while there is no infection, the dentist has ordered antibiotics because I am diabetic. Hopefully,that will take care of the problem whatever it is. Meanwhile, I’m testing and testing. The count has gone down to almost normal during the day. Even with the diamicron, I have never been low. I’m hoping it’s all good. :slight_smile:

Back when I was DX’d T2, I had been given diuretics to take down foot swelling which was my initial reason for seeing a doctor. After it was down, I was told to stay on the diuretics, even though my calves were swelling as a result. Every time I told them the dose was too HIGH, they kept giving me a stronger diuretic! Current record says NO diuretics, and I need compression hose to prevent my calves from swelling painfully.

Not all adverse effects are listed on the official technobabble warning pages. During the same period of time I was put on Norvasc to control my blood pressure. I was having such bad leg cramps and swelling that I had trouble walking. My regular doctor had been on vacation during most of that time. When I finally saw her after a day I had to leave work early because of the pain, she said “that’s a common side effect of Norvasc. We’ll switch you to something else immediately.” The swollen and/or cramping calves do NOT show up on the warning pages for Norvasc.

Now, you’d think that pharmacists – who are supposed to be the “go-to” guys on side effects and adverse interactions, should know something. Last year I suffered a painful shoulder strain suffered in a car accident. I told the ER doctor I had to be wary of narcotics because there’s a family history of adverse effects, so he prescribed Tramedol for the pain.

The next morning, prepping for my first day’s work after way too long a period of unemployment, I fainted. (I never faint.) This was listed as one of those “very serious, if you have this call your doctor or pharmacist IMMEDIATELY” side effects. The pharmacy merely said, “see your doctor tomorrow”. Tomorrow? The next day? When the patient information sheet says it’s all but an emergency type of interaction?

Fortunately, I had enough presence of mind to discontinue the medication, try to find a wash-out period (to avoid interactions with prescription-strength naproxen – which is 5 OTC Aleve per day instead of 2 (I’d been prescribed it before, so I knew it would be OK). Now, I did the research and found no listed interactions between naproxen and tramedol, but given my reaction to the Tramedol, I wanted that stuff out of my system (which is what a “wash-out period” is) before beginning something else. I asked the pharmacy, and the time period they gave me for the wash-out was the t-1/2 period (the amount of time for the amount of medication in your system to drop by half).

When I managed to get in to see my doctor, she said fainting was a pretty common side-effect of Tramedol. She was also concerned that I might have suffered a latent head injury from the bicycle crash I’d had three days before the auto accident, but once again it was a case of everyone else believeing I had missing timeline when my bike crashed, which wasn’t the case, as opposed to when I fainted, which was…

So, based on my experiences, you have to be your own advocate, and you have to have a doctor who knows her pharmacology.

Thanks tmana! It sounds like you have had really rough experiences! The more I read on here, the more I realize that you can’t just accept the doctor’s opinion. I just read some horror stories about hospital visits on one of the forums.
I live in small town Ontario, Canada and right now it is difficult to hang on to a family doctor. They generally set up here and, at the same time, set up a practice close to home. Two years tops and they relocate to the practice close to home. (Who can blame them with the price of gas these days?) I am constantly scrambling to find a new GP. I really hesitate to argue with the endocrinologist. :frowning: He doesn’t like to be questioned and so, until now, I have been very compliant.
We do have very good pharmacists in town. In my frustration, I totally forgot about this resource. Thanks so much for reminding me. I hope you are feeling well now.

I’m glad you have good pharmacists. I largely lost confidence in the ability of my local to do anything beyond transferring pills from a big bottle to a little bottle and slapping a label on the little bottle. That said, at least my doctor knows I have very idiosyncratic reactions to pharmaceuticals and for that reason try to stay as far away from them as possible.

Recently it was revealed that the pharmacists here were receiving some sort of kick-back from the drug companies. Despite huge protests, a law was passed which banned this practice. Not sure if if anything similar happened in the US. I really wondered why doctors were not included in this.
Oh well, just something I was thinking about while I wait to have my tooth pulled.