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What is Repaglinide?

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  • Written By: Maggie J. Hall
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2016
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Repaglinide belongs to a group of medications known as meglitinides, frequently used to treat type 2 diabetes. The medication is typically only effective for those patients experiencing high blood glucose resulting from acquired, environmental and genetic factors that cause a defect in insulin secretion or insulin resistance. The anti-diabetic drug might be used alone or in conjunction with other oral agents along with proper diet and exercise. As with all medications, repaglinide has the potential for adverse effects ranging from mild to serious. Other names for the anti-diabetic medication include GlucoNorm®, NovoNorm®, and Prandia®.

Besides hereditary factors, persons having a sedentary lifestyle, or unhealthy eating habits, typically become overweight or obese, which can cause defective insulin secretion. This physical condition might also cause insulin resistance as fatty cells prevent the chemical from opening cell channels that allow glucose entrance. For this reason, health care providers generally suggest proper diet and exercise when attempting to control high blood sugar. Repaglinide stimulates the beta cells of the pancreas islets to secrete insulin by closing potassium channels. By inhibiting potassium, calcium influx increases, and this action initiates insulin secretion.

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The blood levels of the medication typically peak in about one hour after administration. Due to the fast acting nature of repaglinide, dosing is usually dependent upon the amount of food ingested with each meal and the number of meals consumed in a 24 hour period. Increased amounts of food produce increased levels of blood glucose, requiring increased levels of insulin production and secretion. A benefit of this type of rapid action includes fewer hypoglycemic episodes, but individuals might be subject to more frequent blood sugar monitoring.

The medication is contraindicated for breast-feeding mothers or those experiencing ketoacidosis. Persons might experience severe reactions if taking repaglinide while having a diagnosis of adrenal, liver, kidney or pituitary malfunction. The oral anti-diabetic agent is also not recommended for patients having severe infections. Taking repaglinide with other medications that bind with proteins could cause an increased risk of developing hypoglycemia. Some of these medications include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, anticoagulants and beta blockers.

An increased number of hypoglycemic episodes might also occur when taking repaglinide in conjunction with antifungal, fluoroquinolone, and macrolide antibiotics. Common adverse effects associated with the medication include hypoglycemia, abdominal discomfort exhibited as nausea or diarrhea, and the possibility of developing an upper respiratory infection. More serious adverse effects include chest pain or difficulty breathing. Individuals allergic to the medication or any of the formula’s ingredients might experience symptoms ranging from mild skin reactions, consisting of redness, itching and hives, to anaphylaxis.

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