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Precautions and Warnings With Glucotrol

Precautions and warnings with Glucotrol to be aware of include potential drug interactions, possible side effects, and people who should not take the drug. For example, you should not take Glucotrol if you have type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. Precautions and warnings with Glucotrol also extend to people with kidney or liver problems and those with a narrowing or stricture in the digestive tract.

Glucotrol: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Glucotrol® (glipizide) or Glucotrol XL® (glipizide extended release) 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 Precautions and Warnings With Glucotrol

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Glucotrol 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. Since Glucotrol was not included in this study, it is not known if this risk applies to it. Furthermore, it is unclear whether this is a true risk, as other studies have shown conflicting results.
  • Glucotrol 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 (see Glipizide and Blood Sugar).
  • If you are allergic to sulfonamides ("sulfa" medications), you may also be allergic to Glucotrol, although most people with sulfa allergies can take Glucotrol without problems. To be safe, let your healthcare provider know if you have a sulfa allergy.
  • The outer shell of the Glucotrol XL tablets (not regular Glucotrol 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, discuss this with your healthcare provider before taking Glucotrol XL.
  • Because the outer shells of the Glucotrol XL tablets do not dissolve, you may notice the shells in your stool. This is normal and does not decrease the effectiveness of Glucotrol XL.
  • Glucotrol XL needs time to be released into your digestive tract. 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 Glucotrol XL.
  • The liver and kidneys help to clear Glucotrol from the body. Therefore, lower Glucotrol dosages may be prescribed to people with liver or kidney problems.
  • Fever, infections, injury, or surgery can temporarily increase your blood sugar, even in people with well-controlled diabetes. Glucotrol 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.
  • Over time, Glucotrol 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 Glucotrol. In these cases, Glucotrol 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 Glucotrol, 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.
  • Glucotrol can interact with certain medications (see Drug Interactions With Glucotrol).
  • Glucotrol 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 Glucotrol during pregnancy.
  • It is not known if Glucotrol passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider.
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