Chlorpropamide is used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes together with proper diet and exercise. Chlorpropamide is known as a sulfonylurea. Chlorpropamide lowers blood sugar by elevating the release of the body's natural insulin.



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Chlorpropamide, introduced in the 1950s, is one of the earliest oral medications to treat Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. As a first-generation sulfonylurea, its effectiveness lies in its ability to regulate blood sugar levels.


Chlorpropamide is mainly used to treat Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus12It works by helping the pancreas release insulin, which helps regulate blood glucose levels12Its effectiveness is believed to be due to two factors; increasing insulin production and improving the body’s response to insulin leading to better glucose utilization1.


1: Chlorpropamide: Uses, Interactions, Mechanism of Action | DrugBank Online 2: Chlorpropamide - Wikipedia

How it Works

Looking at how Chlorpropamide works, it has a unique way of functioning. It enhances the ability of cells to allow potassium to pass through, which results in the depolarization of the cell membrane. This, in turn, leads to an increase in calcium within the cell, ultimately causing insulin release. Moreover, when it interacts with sulfonylurea receptors, it further boosts this insulin-producing response resulting in control over blood sugar levels.

Off-label Use

Chlorpropamide is a sulfonylurea drug mainly used to treat type 2 diabetes by stimulating insulin secretion from the pancreas1However, it is also used off-label to treat central diabetes insipidus, a rare condition that causes excessive thirst and urination due to a lack of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) or vasopressin23Chlorpropamide may enhance the action of ADH or increase its sensitivity in the kidneys, resulting in reduced urine output and increased water retention34While there have not been clinical trials or extensive studies on this topic, some evidence does support these unconventional uses23However, chlorpropamide is ineffective in treating nephrogenic diabetes insipidus caused by a resistance to ADH in the kidneys1Chlorpropamide also risks hypoglycemia and other side effects, so it is considered an alternative to standard treatments such as desmopressin (DDAVP)1.


1: Chlorpropamide (chlorpropamide) dose, indications, adverse effects … 2: CHLORPROPAMIDE TREATMENT OF DIABETES INSIPIDUS IN CHILDREN 3: Mechanism of Chlorpropamide Action in Diabetes Insipidus 4: Diabinese (chlorpropamide) dosing, indications, interactions, adverse … 5: Chlorpropamide - Wikipedia

Dosage and Administration

When starting the dosage of Chlorpropamide, it is usually done cautiously. Then adjusted based on how well the patient's blood sugar levels respond and their ability to tolerate it. Here are a few essential things to remember: For adults, the initial daily dose typically falls within the range of 100 to 250 mg. Adjustments may be needed for patient groups like those with kidney or liver problems. It is best to take Chlorpropamide, preferably with meals, as this can help minimize any potential stomach issues.


The main component of Chlorpropamide is Chlorpropamide itself which's not surprising. However, additional substances, like magnesium stearate or starch, may be added to improve the properties and stability of the drug.

Common Side Effects

Like medications, Chlorpropamide can cause side effects. Some reported adverse reactions include feeling full in the upper abdomen, experiencing nausea, and mild episodes of low blood sugar. Healthcare providers explain these potential side effects to patients and provide guidance on managing symptoms. This may involve recommendations such as eating frequent meals or monitoring blood glucose levels regularly.

Side Effects

Apart from the side effects, Chlorpropamide can cause a wide range of other adverse effects. These effects vary in severity. It's crucial to distinguish them based on how often they occur; Common; Feeling dizzy, gaining weight. Uncommon; Skin reactions, jaundice. Rare; A condition called agranulocytosis, anemia.


Chlorpropamide doesn't work in a vacuum within the body. Some medications, like beta blockers or anticoagulants, may influence its effects. Moreover, if you consume Chlorpropamide along with alcohol, it can intensify disulfiram reactions resulting in symptoms such as flushing and palpitations. When it comes to diet, maintaining a carbohydrate intake can improve the predictability of its therapeutic outcomes.


Using Chlorpropamide requires caution in some situations. For example, individuals undergoing surgeries may need to stop taking it to avoid the risk of low blood sugar episodes. Additionally, there are concerns about cardiovascular risks associated with long-term usage, so it is essential to undergo regular heart evaluations during the treatment.


There are situations in which it is not recommended to use Chlorpropamide. Firstly, patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus or diabetic ketoacidosis should avoid using it. Additionally, individuals hypersensitive to sulfonylureas or have uncontrolled conditions, like infections, should be cautious when considering this treatment.

Careful Administration

In the treatment field, caution is essential when using Chlorpropamide. Here's why; Chlorpropamide has effects on lowering blood sugar levels, so it is crucial to follow prescribed dosages and timings carefully. When taking Chlorpropamide and medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, its ability to lower glucose levels may increase. This highlights the importance of adjusting the dosage Monitoring blood sugar levels regularly is extremely important. Additionally, performing liver function tests and evaluating blood count periodically adds a layer of safety, allowing for timely interventions if any abnormalities arise.

Important Precautions

Before starting treatment with Chlorpropamide, there are necessary preparatory steps that need to be taken. These steps usually involve conducting liver and kidney function tests before administration to ensure they work correctly. Dosage adjustments or alternative treatment options might be necessary if any abnormalities are detected. Educating patients about recognizing the signs of adverse reactions ranging from the subtle symptoms of hypoglycemia to the more obvious indications of allergic reactions, is crucial.

Administration to the Elderly

Given the characteristics of elderly individuals, it is essential to consider Chlorpropamide administration carefully. Here are some key points to keep in mind: start with a dose and gradually adjust it based on how well the person's blood sugar levels respond. This population has a higher risk of experiencing prolonged blood sugar episodes, so regular glucose monitoring is essential. It's crucial to understand that as people age, their kidney and liver function may decline, affecting how Chlorpropamide behaves in their body. This makes adjustments not only wise but often necessary.

Administration to Pregnant Women and Nursing Mothers

The relationship between Chlorpropamide and pregnancy is complex. There are essential factors to consider; Chlorpropamide, which falls under pregnancy category B has not shown any definitive risks of causing birth defects in animals, but there is limited research on its effects in humans. For breastfeeding mothers, it is essential to be cautious as Chlorpropamide can pass into breast milk, although the amount is minimal. It is necessary to make decisions after consulting with healthcare professionals. While empirical studies continue to provide insights in this area, the consensus remains that conducting risk-benefit analyses is crucial before administering Chlorpropamide to these populations.

Administration to Children

The medical treatment for children requires consideration. When determining the dosage of Chlorpropamide, there is still some uncertainty but it is generally recommended to start with lower doses and closely monitor the patient's response. Given the risk of blood sugar levels and difficulty recognizing symptoms in young children, parents must be educated and vigilant.


In the event of an overdose of Chlorpropamide, the main symptoms observed are severe low blood sugar levels. These symptoms can include dizziness, confusion, and, in some cases, even coma. Other signs may include palpitations, trembling, and excessive sweating. For patients, it is crucial to provide oral glucose immediately. On the hand, unconscious individuals require life-saving intravenous dextrose solutions. Continuous monitoring is essential until their condition stabilizes and improves.


The effectiveness of Chlorpropamide doesn't just depend on how it's designed but also on how it is stored. It prefers to be kept in a place with little light or moisture and where the temperature does not go above 30°C. Following these storage guidelines will help maintain its effectiveness for several years.

Handling Precautions

Whether you work in healthcare or are a patient, there are some precautions to take when dealing with Chlorpropamide; 1. It is crucial to ensure that the packaging is intact, as any damage could impact the stability of the medication. 2. It is advisable to handle the tablets using gloves in settings where many patients are being treated. This helps prevent any cross-contamination. 3. Any outdated or expired tablets should be appropriately disposed of in designated pharmaceutical disposal units to ensure we are mindful of the impact. These recommendations help maintain safety and integrity when handling Chlorpropamide for healthcare professionals and patients.

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