The People's Perspective on Medicine

Glipizide

Overview

Glucotrol is used together with diet and exercise to control non-insulin-dependent, or Type II, diabetes, which was once called “adult-onset diabetes.”

This pill seems to stimulate the pancreas to make more insulin in response to a meal.

Side Effects and Interactions

Episodes of dangerously low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, are a hazard with Glucotrol as with any oral diabetes drug.

Be alert for symptoms of fatigue, shakiness, headache, cold sweat or confusion, as they could signal this hazardous reaction.

Be sure to discuss the symptoms and treatment of hypoglycemia with your health care provider.

Other possible side effects of this medication include nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, skin rash, drowsiness, stomach ache, changes in liver enzymes, constipation and blood changes.

Fever, sore throat and bruising or bleeding could signal a rare but serious reaction that requires immediate attention. Report any symptoms or suspected side effects without delay.

A number of compounds may interact with Glucotrol.

Alcohol should be avoided if you are on this drug, as it could cause low blood sugar or uncomfortable skin flushing and breathlessness.

Other drugs that could lead to drops in blood sugar include nonsteroidal arthritis medicines like Motrin, aspirin and similar medicines, and antidepressants like Nardil or Parnate.

Many blood pressure pills and heart medicines also interact with Glucotrol, including beta blockers like Tenormin and Corgard as well as calcium channel blockers such as Procardia or Cardizem CD.

So may estrogen or thyroid hormones, corticosteroids, niacin used to lower cholesterol, and the seizure medication Dilantin.

Juniper berries may turn out to lower blood sugar; if so, they would interact with Glucotrol. Close monitoring of blood sugar is advised.

There is a possibility that garlic could interact with drugs that lower blood sugar. Careful monitoring is suggested for anyone combining garlic products with Glucotrol.

Check with your doctor and pharmacist before starting or stopping any other medication or herb.

Special Precautions

Glucotrol must not be taken by people who are allergic to sulfa drugs.

Your doctor will need frequent blood tests to adjust the dose of the medicine when you begin taking it.

Illness or a change in your exercise program may also make it necessary to adjust the dose later on.

Taking the Medicine

For greatest effectiveness, Glucotrol should be taken approximately half an hour before a meal.

Your doctor will tell you if you should take it once or twice a day.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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My husband was on many medications; ie, Type II diabetes caused by Agent Orange, high blood pressure, cholesterol and warfarin for AFIB. Over 18 months, he purposely lost about 35 lbs. We talked to his doctor about reducing both diabetes and blood pressure medications and minor changes were made. He began having night sweats, to the point of having to change the sheets. We never thought to take his glucose readings in the middle of the night. He was on both Glipizide and Metformin.
He was in the hospital recently and it was discovered his glucose readings were exceedingly low in the night. Glipizide has been completely removed from his medications and no more night sweats. He also was removed from Amlodipine, hydrochlorthiazide and terazosin for blood pressure, as no longer indicated as necessary. Losing weight was helpful and we hope the medication reduction brings him back to more energy and less neuropathy. *All Veterans should consider using their VA medical benefit* We’ve been much happier with the VA doctors and the hospital than our private insurance doctor(s).
Now, my turn to lose weight….

After a slight rise in blood sugar was observed, my doctor called to instruct me to pick up this medication to take twice a day. Within two weeks the blood sugar level was the lowest I had ever read on the meter. I skipped the next dose and my primary care office said to reduce the dose to once a day. I’d say it is extremely effective and users should monitor for excessive low blood sugar levels frequently.

Extreme itching on legs and a rash of tiny spots from scratching. This was after being on Glipizide for 2 weeks. I’ve not taken it for 2 weeks and the itching has diminished somewhat yet anxious for it to leave completely. Only real relief is from Gold Bond extra strength medicated powder.

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