Preferred Sample Type

Sulphonylurea Screen (Sulfonylurea Screen)

Suitable Specimen Types

  • Plain Spot Urine
  • Serum
  • EDTA Plasma
  • Li Hep Plasma
Minimum volume 0.5 mL.

Specimen Transport

First class post

Sample Processing in Laboratory

Place in toxicology box in cold room.

Sample Preparation

None required

Turnaround Time

7 days (If urgent please contact toxiolocy on bleep 3289)

Sulphonylurea Screen (Sulfonylurea Screen)

General Information

The sulphonylureas act mainly by augmenting insulin secretion and consequently are effective only when some residual pancreatic beta-cell activity is present; during; long-term administration they also have an extra-pancreatic action. All may lead to hypoglycaemia 4 hours or more after food but this is usually an indication of overdose, and is relatively uncommon.

The qualitative analysis of plasma or urine for the presence of sulphonylurea drugs is a specific investigation and is performed when requested or when the drug history of the patient indicates the possibility of sulphonylurea ingestion.

The follow compounds can be detected using this method:

  • Chlorpropamide
  • Glibenclamide
  • Gliclazide
  • Glimepiride
  • Glipizide
  • Tolbutamide.

Patient Preparation

As this test is primarily used for the investigation of unexplained recurrent or profound hypoglycaemia and to aid the differential diagnosis of insulinoma, the patient should be hypoglycaemic (i.e. venous plasma glucose of < 3 mmol/L and symptomatic).

Reference Range

This is a screening test for the presence of sulphonylureas in plasma or urine. As such, we will report results as Positive or Negative for the drugs listed above. All can be detected reliably at concentrations of 0.5 mg/L in urine and plasma.


  • EQA Scheme?: Yes
  • EQA Status: Sample exchange scheme.

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HTA licence number is 12366

Protection of Personal Information – Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection Policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and it’s employees to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

The Trust Laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital were awarded UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accreditation to the internationally recognised ISO 15189 standard in May 2015. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the test database
Tests not appearing on this scope are either under consideration or in the process of accreditation and so currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235