Repaglinide

Brand names of repaglinide

  • GlucoNorm
  • Repaglinide

Repaglinide belongs to the class of type 2 diabetic medications known as meglitinides and is used for lowering blood sugar levels in people suffering from diabetes. This oral medication is chemically different from other medications used to treat diabetes.

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It may be noted that around 90 per cent of all people suffering from high blood sugar levels have type 2 diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. In fact, type 2 diabetes occurs in individuals during their adulthood and is related to obesity as well as a strong family history of diabetes. Decreased secretion of insulin from the pancreas following meals as well as the resistance of the body's cells to the effects of insulin that invigorate the cells to get rid of glucose from the blood is responsible for glucose intolerance in diabetes type 2. This, in turn, results in elevated levels of blood glucose among the diabetic patients.

Repaglinide motivates cells in the pancreas to produce insulin. In fact, compared to repaglinide, glyburide is more potent at augmenting the secretion of insulin in individuals suffering from poor or elevated levels of blood glucose. On the other hand, repaglinide may be more powerful than glyburide in individuals having reasonable blood glucose levels. Repaglinide is exceptional in the sense that it starts to work immediately and the effect remains for a brief duration. If taken just before meals, this medication encourages insulin secretion that usually takes place with meals and helps in preventing the blood sugar levels from rising too high. In addition, it has been found that repaglinide also helps to reduce the levels of hemoglobin A1c by anything between 1.6 per cent to 1.9 per cent. It may be noted that hemoglobin A1c is actually a blood examination that gauges the efficiency of a drug regulating high levels of blood glucose. The lower the hemoglobin A1c is, the better is the blood glucose control level.

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The Food and Drugs Administration approved the sale and use of repaglinide in 1997.

Things you need to tell your physician before taking repaglinide

As in the case of starting treatment with any new drug, you should adopt a number of precautions prior to taking repaglinide for the first time. First and foremost, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have allergic reactions to this medication, any ingredients of repaglinide or have any other allergies. Repaglinide may enclose a number of inactive ingredients that may result in allergic reactions or other health problems. Hence, it is important to talk to your doctor for further details. Prior to using repaglinide, tell your doctor or pharmacist regarding the prescription and non-prescription drugs, herbal products, vitamins, minerals and dietary supplements being currently used by you. In addition, you should also tell your doctor/ pharmacist regarding the entire medical conditions, particularly if you have or have had any kidney or liver ailments.

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Individuals taking this medication may experience side effects, such as dizziness or lethargy and blurred vision owing to very low or high levels of blood sugar. Hence, they are advised not to undertake any task that requires alertness or clear vision, such as driving a vehicles or operating machinery, unless they are certain as to the effects of the medication on them and also if they can perform the tasks safely.

People living with diabetes as well as taking repaglinide should restrict their alcohol consumption since this medication may enhance the risk of having very low levels of blood sugar. It may be difficult to control your blood sugar when you are enduring stress, for instance, any infection, fever, an injury or a surgery. In such situations, it is important to consult your doctor since enhanced stress may need a modification in your medications, treatment plan or blood sugar examinations.

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Repaglinide should be given to pregnant women when it is absolutely necessary for their medical condition and when all other similar medications fail to respond. It may be noted that pregnancy has the aptitude to cause or even worsen diabetes. While you are pregnant, it is important to consult your doctor regarding the approach to control your blood sugar level. It is possible that your doctor may modify your diabetes treatment during the pregnancy period. In addition, also discuss with your doctor regarding the risks as well as the benefits of different diabetic treatments, for instance diet, and exercise as well as medications, inclusive of taking insulin.

Although it is yet to be ascertained if repaglinide passes onto breast milk and its impact on the fetus or a new born, breast-feeding is not advisable while using this medication. Prior to breast feeding, new mothers should consult their doctor regarding the effects of this medication on the infants.

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Usage

The anti-diabetes drug repaglinide is used as a supplemental (adjunct) treatment to dietary measures as well as exercise with a view to facilitate managing blood sugar levels in individuals living with type 2 diabetes (diabetes mellitus). It may be noted that repaglinide is among the first medications in a new category of oral anti-diabetic drugs intended to control blood sugar (glucose) levels following meals.

How to use repaglinide

Prior to taking repaglinide as well as every time you get a prescription refill, you need to carefully read the Patient Information Booklet available from your pharmacist. In case you are unable to understand any part of the literature or have any queries, you should seek help from your doctor or pharmacist.

Repaglinide is an oral medication that needs to be taken 15 minutes prior to each meal, generally twice to four times every day conditional on the number of meals taken or as advised by your physician. It is advisable to take this medication a little before 30 minutes prior to each meal. If necessary, you may also take it immediately before meals. If you are skipping a meal or in case your blood sugar level is pretty low, it is advisable not to take this medication.

The dosage of repaglinide is completely dependent on the medical condition of the patient as well as the patient's response to the therapy. In the event you are shifting from a different anti-diabetes medication (for instance, chlorpropamide) to repaglinide, you need to strictly follow the instructions of your doctor regarding discontinuing the old medication and start taking repaglinide. It is important to take this medication on a regular basis with a view to obtain the utmost benefit from its use. People suffering from diabetes type 2 and taking this medication should cautiously pursue the medication treatment plan, diet plan as well as the exercise program recommended by their doctor.

It is extremely essential for people enduring diabetes to undergo regular blood examinations as directed by your physician. It is also important to keep track of the results of the blood tests and show them to your doctor. The results of your blood tests are important to decide on the precise dosage of repaglinide. In case your blood sugar measurements are very high or extremely low, inform your doctor immediately. Your doctor may change your treatment plan in such a situation.

How repaglinide works

The anti-diabetic medication repaglinide works by invigorating the pancreas to produce additional insulin. Enhanced levels of insulin lower blood glucose by encouraging the transfer of glucose into the cells of the body muscles and other tissues, where it is utilized as a fuel (energy). The quick start of action as well as the brief duration of action of repaglinide makes the medication effectual in controlling glucose levels following a meal.

Side effects

Serious
Common
Less common

Possible interactions

As with most other drugs, repaglinide is also known to interact with certain drugs, especially herbal particular products and/ or minerals and, hence, they should not be taken concurrently. In addition, this medication may also interact with certain beverages and have extreme interactions when taken conjunctively with alcoholic drinks. While patients taking repaglinide should only consume beverages as directed in their diabetic diet, they should exercise utmost caution while taking alcoholic drinks, since alcohol has the aptitude to inflate the hypoglycemic effects of this medication. Similarly, diabetes type 2 patients taking repaglinide should strictly take only those foods that have been prescribed by their doctor or dietician.

It is important to note that using the mineral chromium has the potential to alter the way your body can use sugar. Although a number of health food stores promote the use of vanadium claiming that it has similar actions as insulin, it may possibly cause toxicity. In addition, findings of several rigorous researches have also advised against the use of vanadium.

In addition DHEA may also alter the susceptibility to insulin or insulin resistance. People suffering from diabetes type 2 should exercise caution while taking herbs like garlic, ginger, hawthorn, licorice, ginseng, yohimbe and nettle, as they have the aptitude to alter the blood sugar. As taking these herbs may need modification of the dosage of hypoglycemic medication, it is essential to consult your doctor prior to combining any of these herbs with repaglinide. Individuals enduring type 2 diabetes should strictly avoid Echinacea purpurea (injection form) as well as blonde psyllium seed or husk.

Discontinuation

Repaglinide should not be interrupted or stopped all of a sudden. It is advisable that you consult your doctor prior to discontinuing this anti-diabetes medication.

Storage instructions

The anti-diabetes medication repaglinide should always be stored in the container. The container ought to be closed tightly and kept out of children's and pets' reach. In addition, always store this medication at room temperature and at a place that is away from extreme heat and moisture. Never store this medication in your bathroom. When this medication becomes outdated or is no longer needed, discard it in a safe and appropriate manner. Unless instructed otherwise, never discard this medication by flushing it down the toilet or pouring it into a drain. If required, ask your pharmacist or the neighbourhood disposal company for further details.

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