Home management of pediatric sulfonylurea ingestions

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Introduction: Sulfonylureas are oral antidiabetic medications that act by stimulating insulin release from pancreatic beta cells. Unintentional pediatric ingestions may result in hypoglycemia. While guidelines often recommend up to a 24-hour hospital observation period for any ingestion, the Oregon Poison Center has historically managed select patients at home. This study aimed to describe outcomes of home-managed pediatric sulfonylurea exposures and characteristics of ingestions that are appropriate for home monitoring. Methods: This is a retrospective chart review of pediatric (≤5 years) sulfonylurea ingestions in a single poison center over a 19-year period (2002–2020). We reviewed 491 individual cases for age, ingestion quantity, witnessed or unwitnessed ingestions, hypoglycemia (<60 mg/dL), disposition, and severe events (seizures or coma). We excluded cases in which missing pills were later found or another agent was identified. Results: Of 474 patients meeting inclusion criteria, 135 (28%) were initially managed at home. Of these, 115 (85.3%) were ingestions of ≤1 tablet, where 68 (59%) were witnessed and 47 (41%) were unwitnessed. One hundred twenty five (92.6%) of these patients were successfully monitored at home, with 10 (7%) ultimately referred to a healthcare facility (HCF). Symptoms of hypoglycemia, measured glucose on home meter <60 mg/dL, fluctuations in monitored glucose, or parental concern were indications for HCF referral. Of those referred, 5 (4%) developed uncomplicated, asymptomatic hypoglycemia. Two of these received octreotide, at the discretion of the treating physician. No patients developed seizures or coma. Discussion: We report 135 pediatric sulfonylurea ingestions managed with initial home monitoring, the majority of which were successfully monitored at home without any reported adverse events. Ten patients “failed home monitoring,” as defined by referral to a healthcare facility. Of these, five developed hypoglycemia, though no patients developed symptoms or serious adverse events. Conclusion: Our findings support home observation for children ≤5 years with small ingestions of second-generation sulfonylureas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1235-1239
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Toxicology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2022


  • Sulfonylureas
  • glimepiride
  • glipizide
  • glyburide
  • home management
  • hypoglycemia
  • pediatric ingestion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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