PATIENTS with untreated diabetes mellitus often demonstrate some elevations of plasma lipids. The increased blood concentrations of free fatty acids (FFA), triglycerides, cholesterol, and phospholipids usually return to normal with treatment which improves glucose utilization.
This report describes the occurrence of severe hyperlipemia associated with lipemia retinalis and xanthomatosis in certain diabetic patients treated with sulfonylurea compounds. In each instance, the control of the patient's hyperglycemia by the sulfonylurea was inadequate. These observations emphasize the importance of adequate follow-up of carbohydrate metabolism in patients treated with oral hypoglycemic agents.
Venous blood was drawn while the patient was in the fasting state unless otherwise noted. Blood glucose was determined by the method of Somogyi,1 total lipids by the method of Folch,2 FFA by the method of Dole,3 cholesterol by the method of Abell,4 and phospholipids by the method of Sperry.5 Patients were hospitalized during the