Hypoglycemia after accidental pediatric sulfonylurea ingestions

Michael Levine, Anne-Michelle Ruha, Frank Lovecchio, Brad D Riley, Anthony F Pizon, Boyd D Burns, Stephen H Thomas
Pediatric Emergency Care 2011, 27 (9): 846-9

BACKGROUND: Because the prevalence of type 2 diabetes increases annually, there has been an increase in pediatric exposures to sulfonylureas. These medications are associated with delayed and often prolonged hypoglycemia. As such, most authorities but not all recommend admission for all pediatric patients with an accidental sulfonylurea ingestion.

METHODS: This study is a retrospective chart review of all pediatric patients with sulfonylurea exposures admitted for 9 years at an urban, pediatric teaching hospital. The incidence and characteristics of the hypoglycemia were recorded and analyzed.

RESULTS: During this time span, 93 patients with accidental sulfonylurea exposures were admitted, with a median age of 1.83 years. Glyburide and glipizide accounted for most sulfonylureas. Hypoglycemia (blood glucose level <50 mg/dL) developed in 25 (58.1%) of 43 patients who ingested glipizide, compared with 10 (25.6%) of 39 patients who ingested glyburide. The overall incidence of hypoglycemia was 44%. Hypoglycemia was more likely to occur with glipizide ingestion than glyburide (odds ratio, 3.89 [95% confidence interval, 1.51-9.98]). No patient with a known time of ingestion developed hypoglycemia after 13 hours.

CONCLUSIONS: Hypoglycemia is common after accidental sulfonylurea exposures. The results of this study support mandatory admission to a monitored setting for at least 16 hours, with frequent glucose determinations.

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