Glimepiride is a medication a doctor may prescribe to control blood sugar in patients who have type 2 diabetes. Patients must establish a diet and exercise plan, as this medication cannot work alone. Patients taking glimepiride may need insulin also, depending on how well they manage their diabetes. A diabetes treatment plan usually involves regular follow-up appointments to discuss progress and determine if the patient's diabetes management plan needs any adjustments.
The medication comes in the form of oral tablets taken on a regular schedule. There is no standardized dose recommendation for glimepiride. Instead, a doctor evaluates the patient, starts with a low dose, and gradually adjusts it until the patient's blood sugar is stable and at a healthy level. The patient's diet and exercise program can have a direct impact on blood sugar control. Patients who adhere to a set plan tend to experience better outcomes in diabetes treatment.
Glimepiride stimulates the pancreas to encourage them to produce more insulin. This will help the body metabolize dietary sugars. The drug also increases insulin sensitivity, making the insulin produced in the pancreas go further. In some patients, this may not be enough. A doctor may recommend insulin injections to manage blood sugar crises and keep the blood glucose level stable and within a safe range.
Patients on glimepiride may develop hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. Low blood sugar is common when patients first start taking the medication. Patients may feel dizzy, fatigued, or nauseous. If the blood sugar is not controlled well enough and starts to rise, patients can experience thirst, agitation, and edema, a buildup of fluid in the extremities. Changes in blood sugar can reflect the need to adjust the dose of the medication to a more suitable level, or to make other changes to the patient's diabetes management plan.
Side effects from glimepiride are relatively infrequent as long as the patient's blood sugar stays normal. Some patients experience stomach irritation and may feel nauseous or develop diarrhea. The medication can also sometimes cause skin reactions. If a patient is taking other medications or has medical issues with the liver or kidneys, the chances of side effects are higher. In these patients, a doctor may advise special caution when timing medication dosages with the goal of reducing risks. Patients who do experience side effects can discuss them with a doctor to see what kinds of options are available, including alternative medications or medications to manage side effects.