This medicine is used to manage high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) in individuals with type 2 diabetes (the body either releases insufficient insulin or rejects insulin), preferably with a healthy lifestyle and other drugs. 

IUPAC name: 1-butyl-3-(4-methylphenyl) sulfonylurea

Drug class: Anti-diabetic drug; sulfonylureas

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Route of administration: Oral

Is it a drug that needs a prescription? YES

Is it an OTC drug? NO

Mechanism of action

Tolbutamide works by activating pancreatic beta cells to produce insulin, which helps in the reduction of blood sugar or glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. 

Side effects

Tolbutamide may cause nausea, heartburn, headache, stomach/abdominal fullness, taste changes, dark urine, jaundice, rash/itching or redness, easy bleeding or bruising, stomach discomfort, sore throat, and fever.


Before using this medication, take the following precautions and notify your doctor:

If you are allergic to it or have any other allergies,

If you are taking any other medication (prescribed, non-prescribed, or herbal products),

If you have a history of cardiac, hepatic, or renal illness, a low sodium level in your blood, certain hormone abnormalities (such as thyroid gland difficulties or pituitary/adrenal gland disease), hemolytic anemia, or a combination of these conditions,

If you have undergone any type of surgery,

Limit your alcohol usage since it increases your chances of obtaining low blood sugar levels. It may cause headaches, vomiting, nausea, flushing, disorientation, and anxiety.

You may have dizziness, changes in vision, or lack of awareness as a result of low or high blood sugar levels.

When your body is stressed, controlling your blood glucose level becomes challenging.

Avoid going out in the sun since this medication makes your skin sun sensitive.

Consult your doctor if you get pregnant or if you are breastfeeding while using this medication.

This drug is not advised to be taken while pregnant. 

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