Glipizide is a prescription drug used to treat type 2 diabetes. The medication works by lowering blood sugar. Doctors advise patients to use the drug only as directed in conjunction with proper exercise and a balanced diet. Certain precautions must be taken for people with other medical conditions. Due to the fact that Glipizide alters blood sugar levels, side effects are possible.
People suffering from type 2 diabetes cannot process insulin proficiently enough to regulate blood sugar; this condition is called insulin resistance. Glipizide only helps people who produce insulin from their pancreas. Type 1 diabetics will not benefit from this medication because their bodies do not produce insulin at all. Glipizide works by impelling the pancreas to manufacture more insulin and dispersing it evenly to where it is needed. Doctors encourage patients to combine the use of the medication with diet and exercise because people who lead sedentary lifestyles and are overweight tend to have a greater difficulty processing insulin and foods high in carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels.
Glipizide comes in capsule form. The drug comes in 2.5 milligrams (mg), 5 mg, and 10 mg doses. Dosage levels depend on the severity of the underlying condition but should not exceed 40 mg a day. Most people are advised to ingest Glipizide 30 minutes prior to eating a meal.
People with other underlying medical conditions should divulge them to their doctor, particularly if they have kidney or liver conditions. Doctors may prescribe Glipizide at lesser doses or decide the health risk is too great to issue the medicine. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should inform their physician prior to taking the medicine. Glipizide has not been shown to cause pre-natal harm to unborn children, however similar anti-diabetic medications have been shown to cause low blood sugar in newborns. No evidence exists that the medicine transfers to breast milk, but nursing mothers should be aware of the possibility.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a possible side effect of Glipizide use. Alcohol and too much exercise are two factors that may contribute to a sudden drop in blood sugar. Signs of low blood sugar include sweating, blurred vision, uncontrollable tremors, and numbness in the upper and lower extremities. Eating or drinking substances high in sugar should stabilize blood sugar levels; if the symptoms do not subside after several hours, immediate medical treatment should be sought. Other possible side effects include nausea, diarrhea, and increased irritability.