Easy-to-read medicine information about glipizide – what it is, how to take glipizide safely and possible side effects.
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What is glipizide?
Glipizide is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It works by increasing the amount of insulin produced by your pancreas and in this way lowers high blood glucose. Glipizide can be used alone or with other medicines (such as metformin), along with good nutrition and regular exercise. It is one of a group of medicines known as sulfonylureas. In New Zealand, glipizide is available as tablets (5 mg).
- The dose of glipizide will be different for different people.
- Your doctor will usually start you on a low dose and increase your dose gradually, depending on your blood glucose level. This allows your body to get used to the medicine and reduces side effects.
- The usual dose is from one half (2.5 mg) to six tablets (30 mg) each day. Some people may need higher doses (up to 8 tablets daily).
- Each day's tablets are usually taken once a day (before breakfast) or divided into two doses (before breakfast and dinner). Some people may need to take glipizide three times a day (before breakfast, lunch and dinner).
- Always take your glipizide exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much glipizide to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.
My dose is:
How to take glipizide
- Glipizide is best taken 15 to 20 minutes before meals.
- If prescribed once each day, take your dose in the morning 15-20 minutes before breakfast.
- If given twice each day, take your doses 15-20 minutes before breakfast and dinner.
- If prescribed three times each day, take your doses 15-20 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Do not skip meals while taking glipizide.
- Take glipizide at about the same times each day so that this becomes part of your daily routine, which will help you to remember.
- Limit or avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking glipizide. It may increase your risk of side effects.
- If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember (15-20 minutes before food). But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
- Keep taking glipizide every day, to control your diabetes. Do not stop taking glipizide suddenly; speak to your doctor or nurse before stopping. Contact your doctor or nurse for advice if you have been unwell and missed meals.
Note: there is also a similar-sounding medicine called gliclazide. This is also used to treat type 2 diabetes. If your tablets look different to your last supply, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Precautions – before taking glipizide
- Do you have problems with your kidneys or liver?
- Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Are you overweight?
- Have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine?
If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start glipizide. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.
Possible side effects
Like all medicines, glipizide can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.
Low blood glucose
Sometimes glipizide may lower your blood glucose too much. This is called hypoglycaemia or a 'hypo'.
- Hypos are most likely to occur when glipizide is used together with metformin or insulin to control your diabetes, if you have kidney problems (chronic kidney disease) or are elderly or have taken glipizide but missed a meal.
- Hypoglycaemia may cause you to feel weak, faint, dizzy, drowsy or irritable. You may get a headache, tremor (shakes) or blurred vision.
- If this occurs, drink something sweet such as a small glass of sweetened soft drink, or fruit juice or eat something sweet such as lollies or glucose tablets. Follow this up with a snack such as a sandwich.
- Tell your doctor or nurse if this happens.
- Read more about hypoglycaemia and diabetes sick day plan.
Other side effectsLike all medicines, glipizide can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.
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Glipizide can interact with some medicines and herbal supplements so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting glipizide or before starting any new medicines.
The following links have more information on glipizide:
- Glipizide New Zealand Formulary
- Managing patients with type 2 diabetes: from lifestyle to insulin BPAC Dec 2015