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Glipizide (Glucotrol) Uses and Side Effects

By | Diabetes, Sulfonylureas | No Comments

Glipizide is an antidiabetic drug of the chemical sulfonylurea class.  It is an oral and short acting drug that is classified as a second generation sulfonylurea.  It is marketed by Pfizer under the name Glucotrol in the United States. 

How Does Glipizide Work?

Like other sulfonylurea antidiabetic medicines, glipizide induces insulin release from pancreatic beta cells, but only when there is some beta-cell activity remaining in the pancreas.  This helps control blood sugar to maintain it at normal levels.  Glipizide is used with diet and exercise to have a healthy lifestyle with your type II diabetes diagnosis.  Some patients cannot take glipizide: If you have blockage in your intestines, kidney or liver disease, or a history of heart disease.  Tell your doctor if you have a glucose-6-phosphate deficiency (G6PD), a disorder of the pituitary or adrenal glands.

Warnings and Side Effects

Some oral diabetes drugs can increase your risk of serious heart issues.  Not taking your diabetes drugs have damage your heart and other organs, so you should talk to your physician about your risks. Other side effects of the sulfonylurea class of diabetes drugs include: low blood sugar symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, sweating, nervousness, weight gain, upset stomach, hunger, skin reactions, and dark urine.

How Do Genetics Determine Drug Metabolism?

Since the human genome was completed, many genome wide association studies have revealed that there are variations in the many genes that are responsible for processing drugs. processing in your body is also called drug metabolism.  Genes provide ‘instructions’ for the production of the actual enzymes responsible for drug metabolism.  Thus, variations in the genes transfer to the enzyme, which will have variations from the genetic instructions.  Variations in the enzyme may mean that the drug metabolism function is altered.  That could mean that the enzyme responsible for metabolizing several or a number of drugs isn’t working properly, resulting in side effects. 

Genetic Testing with Rxight®

One important way to know beforehand if you have any drug metabolism variations is to get the Rxight® pharmacogenetics test from MD Labs.  With one simple cheek swab, you and your physician can have at hand the results of this state-of-the-art platform that reveals your genetic disposition to any of the 200 drugs and over-the-counter products on the market.


To avoid side effects or medication inefficacy, ask your physician to prescribe the Rxight® pharmacogenetics test from MD Labs.  All that is required is a participating pharmacy and your physician’s prescription.  It also brings precision medicine to you and your physician, utilizing more individualized medical care. 

Pharmacogenetic Testing Could Help Reduce Side Effects Caused by Commonly Prescribed Diabetes Medication

By | Antidepressants, Diabetes | No Comments

Diabetes is a serious public health issue, and is projected to be the seventh leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. In the sub-Saharan African region, it is estimated that nearly 1 in 10 people suffer from diabetes, according to the World Health Organization Global Report on Diabetes (WHO, 2016). In the United States, we see similar statistics. The CDC reported in 2014 that nearly 1 in every 11 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with diabetes, accounting for nearly 29.1 million people (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report).
Complications can arise in those with diabetes and therefore, proper medication therapy is crucial.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN) is the most common complication of diabetes and occurs in up to half of diabetic patients, according to a recent study in Pharmacogenomics (Chaudhry et al., April 2017).

The most common symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are increased pain sensitivity, numbness and spontaneous pain in the limbs. Patients frequently describe the pain as burning and shooting.

Amitriptyline: The Drug of Choice for DPN in Developing Countries

Since there are currently no treatments available to completely restore nerve function, drug therapy is often aimed at managing the pain. Antidepressants in particular, specifically amitriptyline, are often used to treat DPN.
This Pharmacogenomics study investigated the use of amitriptyline for DPN in a South African population. Amitriptyline is used to treat the DPN pain due to its numbing effect on the nerves. It is regarded as the drug of choice to for painful peripheral neuropathy in this population given its cost effectiveness.

Genetics Influence How You’ll React to Medications

Common side effects of amitriptyline include blurred vision, drowsiness, constipation, urinary retention and dryness of mouth/eyes. More serious side effects include build-up of metabolic toxins in the heart or the nervous system.
Genetics play a major role in how the body metabolizes medications. Amitriptyline is mainly metabolized in the liver and cleared by the kidneys. How one’s body metabolizes this medication in encoded by two specific genes and one of these genes is responsible for adverse drug reactions (ADRs).
In the case of amitriptyline, patients who are “slow metabolizers” will experience adverse reactions. Patients who are “fast metabolizers” do not experience these adverse reactions. However, since these fast metabolizers clear the drug from their bodies so quickly, they are at risk for not benefiting from treatment.

Study Calls for Pharmacogenetic Screening in Amitriptyline Therapy

The study concluded that pharmacogenetic testing might be useful for tailoring treatment and thereby improving amitriptyline effectiveness. Chaudhry et al. noted that if a patient is a non-responder to amitriptyline, or experiences severe side effects, pre-emptive genetic screening can be performed so an alternative medication may be considered, or the dose adjusted appropriately.
“Our findings…support the use of pharmacogenetic testing in the context of amitriptyline therapy for the management of diabetic pain,” the authors stated, adding that PGx testing can be “valuable to guide drug choice and dosage and thereby improve treatment outcomes in patients with DPN.”