Initial Drugs for Treating Children with Diabetes and Hypertension – An Overview

Using Drugs to Treat Children

Obesity is one of the main causes for both diabetes and hypertension. There are also several risks due to diabetes and hypertension and these include heart disease and kidney failure. To keep these conditions in check there are a few prescription drugs that are currently available. These drugs should be used only as prescribed by the doctor. The dosage may have to be altered depending on each patient's response to the treatment.

Common Drugs Include:

  • Biguanides
  • Sulphonylureas
  • Meglitinides
  • Benazepril
  • Labetalol



Biguanides, the most common of which is Metformin are the most commonly used and least harmful drugs for diabetes in children. They serve two main purposes-making tissues more sensitive to insulin and also reducing glucose production by the liver. It is commonly administered to not only children but also adults with type 2 diabetes. The benefit of these drugs is that they do not cause hypoglycemia and hence they are advantageous to children who are obese. The side effects of these drugs include nausea, vomiting and a few other gastrointestinal problems.


Sulfonylureas are commonly used first line drugs which help to maintain blood glucose and its optimum level by stimulating the pancreas to produce insulin. These are oral drugs that are usually taken about 30 minutes before every meal and they prove to be more effective when taken in combination with other first line drugs such as Metformin. The side effects of sulfonylureas include weight gain and cardiac problems.


Meglitinides are another form of first line drugs for diabetes in children. They’re most commonly used in combination with drugs such as Metformin. The advantage with these drugs is that they can be taken by people suffering form kidney problems. Meglitinides stimulate the production of insulin by beta cells and are thus able to replicate the functions performed by normal insulin. The side effects of these drugs include diarrhea and headaches. They should be administered with utmost caution to patients with liver and heart problems.


Benazepril is a first line drug used to treat hypertension in children. Benazepril works by relaxing the blood vessels and thereby decreasing blood pressure. Using benazepril calls for much more care than the other common initial drugs for treating children with diabetes and hypertension. The reason is that this drug has a lot of side effects on children who are allergic to any of its ingredients and kids who suffer from angioedema. Hence it is advisable to obtain the advice of a pediatrician before using Benazepril.


Labetalol falls under a class of drugs called beta blockers which are used to treat hypertension. This drug acts by controlling the flow of blood through the arteries and veins running to and from the heart. It has shown a lot of benefits in children but it has a few side effects on children suffering from respiratory diseases such as asthma and various serious heart conditions.

The initial drugs for treating children with diabetes and hypertension offer great benefits to parents and they play a major role in helping children fight both conditions.


NY Times Health

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