Sulfonylureas and meglitinides are medications used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance, which is when tissue cells have trouble responding to insulin in order to use glucose from the blood.
As a result, tissue cells starve for energy despite having high blood glucose levels, which is called hyperglycemia.
Now, sulfonylureas can be classified into first and second generation, and are easy to recognize because they all have the suffix -ide.
First generation sulfonylureas include tolbutamide, which is short-acting, tolazamide, which is intermediate-acting, and chlorpropamide, which is long-acting; while second generation sulfonylureas include glimepiride, glipizide and glyburide
On the other hand, meglitinides have the suffix -glinide, and the most commonly used ones include repaglinide and nateglinide.
Okay, now both sulfonylureas and meglitinides are given orally and once administered, they both act on the pancreas by inhibiting ATP-sensitive potassium channels on the membrane of pancreatic beta cells.