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Glipizide Warnings and Precautions

Glipizide warnings and precautions to be aware of include the risk of low blood sugar, potential allergic reactions, and the danger of taking the medication while pregnant. People who have kidney or liver problems, pituitary gland problems, and certain allergies should avoid the drug. Glipizide precautions and warnings also extend to people who have a narrowing or stricture, people with type 1 diabetes, or those who have diabetic ketoacidosis.

Glipizide: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking glipizide (Glucotrol®) or glipizide extended release (Glucotrol XL®) if you have:
  • Kidney problems, including kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Liver problems, including liver failure or cirrhosis
  • Adrenal insufficiency or adrenal fatigue
  • Pituitary gland problems
  • Narrowing or strictures in the digestive tract
  • Any allergies, including allergies to sulfa drugs, foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also let your healthcare provider know if you:
  • Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Have an upcoming surgery.
In addition, tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Glipizide Warnings and Precautions

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking glipizide include the following:
  • One study has shown that oral medications that lower blood sugar may increase the risk of death due to heart-related causes (such as a heart attack), compared to treatment with insulin or treatment with diet and exercise. Although glipizide was not included in this study, it is not known if this risk applies to glipizide. Therefore, it is unclear if this is a true risk, as other studies have shown conflicting results.
  • Glipizide can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in some people. This is more common in elderly people and in people with adrenal, pituitary, liver, or kidney problems -- as well as during fasting before surgery and after prolonged exercise. Symptoms of low blood sugar may include irritability, trembling, cold sweats, or blurry vision, among other things.
  • If you are allergic to sulfonamides ("sulfa" medications), you may also be allergic to glipizide, although most people with sulfa allergies can take glipizide without problems. To be safe, let your healthcare provider know if you have a sulfa allergy.
  • The outer shell of the glipizide extended release tablets (not regular glipizide tablets) do not dissolve and can cause obstructions in people with a narrowing or stricture of the digestive tract, including esophageal strictures. If you have a narrowing or stricture, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider before taking extended release glipizide.
  • Because the outer shells of the extended release glipizide tablets do not dissolve, you may notice the shells in your stool. This is normal and does not decrease the effectiveness of extended release glipizide.
  • Extended release glipizide needs time to be released into your digestive tract. Therefore, if you have problems that cause medications to move too quickly through the digestive tract (such as diarrhea), you may not absorb the full amount of extended release glipizide.
  • The liver and kidneys help to clear glipizide from the body. Lower glipizide dosages are typically used in people with liver or kidney problems as a result.
  • Fever, infections, injury, or surgery can temporarily increase your blood sugar, even in people with well-controlled diabetes. Glipizide may not be enough to treat your diabetes at these times, and the use of insulin may be required. Contact your healthcare provider if you have a fever, infection, injury, or will be having surgery. Also, make sure you know the symptoms of high blood sugar and how to check your blood sugar levels (see Glipizide and Blood Sugar).
  • Over time, glipizide may become less effective at controlling blood sugar levels. This may be due to the diabetes becoming worse or the body not responding as well to the glipizide. In these cases, glipizide may need to be combined with another oral diabetes drug or insulin. Your healthcare provider may also recommend switching to another diabetes medication (see Glipizide Alternatives).
  • Sulfonylurea medicines, such as glipizide, have been reported to increase sensitivity to the sun. Therefore, when going outdoors, try wearing long sleeves, pants, and a hat. Any exposed skin should be covered with sunscreen that is at least SPF 15.
  • Glipizide can interact with certain medications (see Glipizide Drug Interactions).
  • Glipizide is considered pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider before using glipizide during pregnancy (see Glucotrol During Pregnancy).
  • It is not known if glipizide passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about this.
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