Glipizide is an oral antidiabetic, or antihyperglycemic, medication of the sulfonylurea type used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus, also known by the names adult onset or non-insulin dependent diabetes. The medication works by stimulating insulin production in the pancreas. The newly produced insulin helps lower blood glucose levels by stimulating cells in the body to increase their intake of glucose for storage or metabolism. A standard glipizide dose is taken twice a day, 30 minutes before a meal, although there is an extended release version available that is taken just once daily. The specific glipizide dose prescribed depends upon a diabetic's representative blood glucose levels, his or her adherence to a recommended diabetic diet, whether an exercise program is ongoing, his or her body weight and other factors that can influence blood glucose levels or the effectiveness of the medication.
A doctor prescribes or recommends a given glipizide dose based upon a patient's usual blood glucose readings; however, initial dosages when first started on the medication may be lower in order to allow the patient to become used to the drug's side effects. Once the glipizide dose reaches the expected amount, other factors come into play that determine whether or not this dose is adequate and sufficient to lower blood glucose levels. A medication that increases insulin levels and decreases blood glucose is not license for a patient to freely eat high sugar and high carbohydrate foods. The patient must maintain his or her prescribed diabetic diet to limit glucose levels at the nutritional level. He must also maintain or begin an agreed-upon exercise program to help decrease blood glucose levels naturally through exertion.
Obese patients may require a higher glipizide dose than a diabetic of normal weight with the same blood glucose levels. This is secondary to a disease known as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance syndrome, or Syndrome X. Diabetic patients with insulin resistance syndrome usually carry their extra weight around the middle of their bodies. Although the glipizide medication stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin, it fails to influence the movement of glucose from the bloodstream into the body cells. The effects of this syndrome can be decreased by exercise and weight loss.
Chronic or concomitant diseases can influence a patient's glipizide dose. Many liver, kidney or hormonal diseases may limit the amount of glipizide prescribed or contraindicate the medication entirely. Temporary changes in a diabetic patient's condition may necessitate a change in his dosage. In addition, many drugs can interact with glipizide and some should not be taken with this medication at all. For these reasons, it is imperative that both a physician and a pharmacist review the patient's medical history and all the medications or supplements he takes, both prescribed and over-the-counter.