Take repaglinide 15 minutes before each of your main meals.
The most common side-effects are diarrhoea, stomach pain and low blood sugar (glucose), called hypoglycaemia.
Remember to follow any advice you have been given about your diet and taking exercise.
|Type of medicine||An antidiabetic medicine|
|Used for||Type 2 diabetes mellitus|
|Also called||Enyglid®; Prandin®|
Insulin is a hormone which is made naturally in your body, in the pancreas. It helps to control the levels of sugar (glucose) in your blood. If your body does not make enough insulin, or if it does not use the insulin it makes effectively, this results in the condition called sugar diabetes (diabetes mellitus).
People with diabetes need treatment to control the amount of sugar in their blood. This is because good control of blood sugar levels reduces the risk of complications later on. Some people can control the sugar in their blood by making changes to the food they eat but, for other people, medicines like repaglinide are given alongside the changes in diet.
Repaglinide lowers blood glucose by encouraging your pancreas to produce more insulin. It starts to work quickly so it is particularly helpful in controlling blood sugar levels straight after a meal.
Before taking repaglinide
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking repaglinide it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are under 18 or over 75 years of age.
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have any problems with the way your liver works, or with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have a severe illness or infection.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take repaglinide
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about repaglinide tablets and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking them.
- Take repaglinide exactly as your doctor tells you to. Take a dose before each of your main meals (usually breakfast, lunch and dinner). The best time to take repaglinide is 15 minutes before your meal, but you can take it at any time within the 30-minute period before your meal. If you miss a meal, do not take a tablet.
- There are three strengths of tablet - 500 micrograms, 1 mg, and 2 mg. It is likely you will be prescribed the lower-strength tablet to begin with. If it becomes necessary, your doctor may later increase the strength of the tablet you are prescribed.
- Take the tablets with a drink of water to help you swallow.
- If you forget to take a dose, do not worry, just take your next dose at the next mealtime as normal. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose, and do not take the tablets between meals.
Getting the most from your treatment
- It is important that you keep your regular doctor's and clinic appointments. This is so that your progress can be monitored. You will need regular check-ups with an eye clinic and a foot clinic as well as with your doctor and diabetes clinic.
- Your doctor may recommend that you test for sugar (glucose) in your blood or urine regularly to check that your diabetes is being controlled. Your doctor or diabetes nurse will show you how to do this.
- If you have been given advice by your doctor about changes to your diet, stopping smoking or taking regular exercise, it is important for you to follow the advice you have been given.
- Repaglinide can cause low blood sugar. Make sure you know what it feels like if your blood sugar is too low. This is known as hypoglycaemia, or a 'hypo'. The first signs of hypoglycaemia are feeling shaky or anxious, sweating, looking pale, feeling hungry, having a feeling that your heart is pounding (palpitations), and feeling dizzy. If this happens, eat something containing sugar, such as dextrose tablets, jelly babies or a sugary drink (non-diet), and then follow this up with a snack such as a sandwich or a banana.
- If you are a driver you should take special care, as your ability to concentrate may be affected if your diabetes is not well controlled. You may be advised to check your blood sugar levels before you travel and to have a snack with you on long journeys.
- Do not drink alcohol, as it can affect the control of your blood sugar. Ask your doctor if you need further advice about this.
- If you get unusually thirsty, pass urine more frequently than normal, or feel very tired, you should let your doctor know. These are signs that there is too much sugar in your blood and your treatment may need adjusting.
- Check with your doctor before taking up any new physical exercise, as this will have an effect on your blood sugar levels and you may need to check your blood or urine levels more regularly.
- If you are due to have an operation or dental treatment, you should tell the person carrying out the treatment that you have diabetes and give them a list of the medicines you are taking. This is because if you are not able to eat for a time, you will be advised to skip your doses of repaglinide until you are eating normally again.
- If you buy any medicines, always check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take.
- Treatment for diabetes is usually lifelong. Continue to take the tablets unless you are advised otherwise by your doctor.
Can repaglinide cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with repaglinide. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common repaglinide side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Diarrhoea, stomach pain||Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids|
|Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia): symptoms include feeling shaky or anxious, sweating, looking pale, feeling hungry, feeling that your heart is pounding (palpitations), feeling dizzy||Eat something containing sugar, such as dextrose tablets, jelly babies or a sugary drink (non-diet), then follow this up with a snack such as a sandwich or a banana. Tell your doctor if you notice these symptoms|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store repaglinide
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Repaglinide 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg Tablets; Actavis UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2011.
- British National Formulary; 67th Edition (March 2014) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Adrian Bonsall