Glucotrol

1 What is Glucotrol?

Brand: Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL

Generic: Glipizide (Oral Route)

Glucotrol is used in the management of diabetes mellitus to control the high blood sugar levels. In type 2 diabetes there are increased levels of sugar in your blood because your body does not work properly to metabolize the sugar. 

The first line treatment of diabetes is proper diet but medication is usually used to achieve proper sugar control. Glipizide is member of a group of drugs called sulfonylureas. It stimulates the release of insulin from the pancreas, directing your body to store blood sugar.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Tablet
  • Tablet, Extended Release

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Glucotrol, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it.

Every medicine has potential side effects. So, the benefits of a drug should always be weighed against its associated risks. Your doctor will consider these risks before prescribing the drug and will inform you about them. Following factors should be considered before taking this drug:

Allergies: If you have had an allergic reaction to this drug in the past, inform your doctor. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic to any other drugs or food products.

Age specific problems: The data regarding the effects of this medicine specific to the pediatric age group is not yet available. Its safety and efficacy has not been established in children. 

The studies specific to the geriatric age group have not been carried out, that would limit the use of this drug in old age group.

Pregnancy: Regarding the safety of usage of this drug during pregnancy, it comes under “C” category, which means that clinical trials on animals have revealed harmful effects to the developing fetus or relevant studies have not been performed.

Drug Interactions: Certain drugs should not be used together because they can interact inside the body which can have a harmful effect. On the other hand certain drugs are allowed to be used together. So, you should tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking. If there is a chance of interaction between those two drugs, the doctor may change the dose or may prescribe an alternative drug. 

Glipizide should be used cautiously with following drugs:

  • Besifloxacin
  • Acarbose
  • Balofloxacin
  • Ceritinib
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Dabrafenib
  • Dulaglutide
  • Disopyramide
  • Enoxacin
  • Entacapone
  • Flumequine
  • Fleroxacin
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Lanreotide
  • Gemifloxacin
  • Lomefloxacin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Metreleptin
  • Nadifloxacin
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Norfloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Octreotide
  • Pazufloxacin
  • Pasireotide
  • Prulifloxacin
  • Pefloxacin
  • Rufloxacin
  • Tosufloxacin
  • Sparfloxacin

Furthermore, certain medications should not be taken with alcohol or tobacco, which may also result in harmful interactions. Ask your doctor about the concurrent use of this drug along with alcohol or tobacco. 

You should also inform your doctor about any other medical condition you may be suffering from, especially:

  • Underactive adrenal glands or
  • Alcohol intoxication or
  • Underactive pituitary gland or
  • Weakened physical condition or
  • Undernourished condition or
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (ketones in the blood) or
  • Any other condition that causes low blood sugar—Patients with these conditions may be more likely to develop low blood sugar while taking glipizide.
  • Type I diabetes—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
  • Fever 
  • Surgery 
  • Infection 
  • Heart or blood vessel disease—Use with caution. May make this condition worse.
  • Trauma—These conditions may cause temporary problems with blood sugar control and your doctor may want to treat you temporarily with insulin.
  • Glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency (an enzyme problem)
  • Liver disease—Higher blood levels of this medicine may occur, which may cause serious problems.
  • Kidney disease 

3 Proper Usage

To use Glucotrol correctly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.

You should swallow the whole tablet. Avoid chewing, crushing or splitting the tablet. The most important part of treatment is proper diet control. Try following the special meal plan your doctor gave you. Diet control is necessary if the medicine is to work properly. 

Part of the tablet may pass into your stool after your body has absorbed the medicine, if you are taking the extended release form. This is normal and nothing to worry about.

To avoid adverse effects, this drug should be used exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not overuse or misuse this drug and do not use it longer than the recommended time. Read all the instructions mentioned in the medication guide. 

Do not miss any dose. The dose of this drug varies according to the condition of each person. The number of doses per day, the time interval between the doses and the length of time you have to take the medicine depends on your condition individually and all these factors should only be determined by your healthcare provider. Follow each and every instruction of your doctor and also read the label carefully.

In case you miss one dose of this drug, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your subsequent dose, you can then skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

Storage: This medicine should be stored at room temperature within a closed container, away from heat, direct light and moisture. Keep this drug out of the reach of children. Do not store expired or outdated medicines or the medicine no longer needed. 

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Glucotrol, there are some precautions you must take.

If you start having chest pain or discomfort, nausea, pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck, shortness of breath, sweating, or vomiting while you are using this medicine, check with you doctor right away. These may be symptoms of a serious heart problem, like heart attack.

It is very important to follow carefully any instructions from your doctor about:

  • Alcohol—because drinking alcohol may cause low blood sugar levels. 
  • Travel— tell your doctor about your recent prescription and your medical history. Keep all the records with you. Be prepared for an emergency as you would normally. Make allowances for changing time zones and keep your meal times as close as possible to your usual meal times.
  • Counseling—Family members of the patient need to learn how to prevent side effects or help with side effects if they occur. Furthermore, counseling regarding contraception and pregnancy may be needed because of the problems that can occur in patients with diabetes during pregnancy.
  • Regular follow-up is necessary during and after the treatment. It is important to allow your doctor to monitor your progress and to make sure that there aren’t any side effects from the medication. Contact your doctor if your symptoms have not improved even after taking the full course of treatment. The doctor may order some blood tests in order to determine the blood levels of the drug. 

Avoid taking any other medicine unless thoroughly discussed with your doctor. Always ask your doctor before using any prescription, non-prescription or herbal medicine. 

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Glucotrol. Although these side effects may occur only in a handful of patients but if they do occur, contact your physician immediately.

This medication is associated with following side effects:

  • blurred vision
  • Anxiety
  • cold sweats
  • chills
  • coma
  • cool, pale skin
  • confusion
  • difficulty with moving
  • depression
  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeat
  • fainting
  • headache
  • joint pain
  • increased hunger
  • leg cramps
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • muscle aching or cramping
  • nausea
  • nightmares
  • nervousness
  • pain in the joints
  • seizures
  • problems in urination or increase in the amount of urine
  • shakiness
  • sweating
  • slurred speech
  • swollen joints
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • bloating
  • body aches or pain
  • bloody or black, tarry stools
  • burning, dry, or itching eyes
  • congestion
  • clay-colored stools
  • constipation
  • dark urine
  • cough
  • decreased vision or other changes in vision
  • diarrhea
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • dryness or soreness of the throat
  • difficult or painful urination
  • excessive tearing
  • fainting
  • feeling of warmth
  • fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  • heartburn
  • fever
  • hoarseness
  • itching
  • indigestion
  • loss of appetite
  • pounding in the ears
  • pain in the eye
  • rash
  • redness of the face, neck, arms and occasionally, upper chest
  • runny nose
  • redness, pain, or swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid
  • shortness of breath
  • severe stomach pain
  • tender, swollen glands in the neck
  • tightness in the chest
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • trouble in swallowing
  • voice changes
  • wheezing
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • yellow eyes or skin

Seek medical help instantly, if you experience any of these symptoms while on this medication. Also contact your healthcare professional immediately, if have overdosed on this drug. 

If any of these side effects becomes more bothersome or does not go away, contact your doctor.

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