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Back to Medicines A to Z. Glimepiride is a medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body doesn't make enough insulin, or the insulin that it makes doesn't work properly. This can cause high blood sugar levels hyperglycaemia.

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A diabetes specialist may sometimes prescribe glimepiride for children and young people less than 18 years of age. Glimepiride isn't suitable for some people. To make sure it's safe for you, tell your doctor if you:. This medicine isn't used to treat type 1 diabetes when your body does not produce insulin. Most people take it in the morning with their breakfast. If you don't eat breakfast, make sure you take it with your first meal of the day. Try to take it at the same time every day. If you find it difficult to swallow tablets, use the score line in the middle of the tablet to break it in 2, then take both halves.

Your doctor will tell you how many tablets to take. You may need to take 1 or 2 tablets to make up your daily dose. The usual starting dose for adults is 1mg, taken once a day.

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Your doctor may increase your dose gradually over a few weeks or months, up to a regular dose of 4mg once a day. Your doctor will check your blood sugar levels regularly. They may change your dose of glimepiride to keep your blood sugar under control. If you think you have low blood sugarhave some food or drink that quickly gets sugar into your bloodstream such as sugar cubes or fruit juice. This type of sugar won't last long in your blood. You may also need to eat a starchy carbohydrate, like a sandwich or a couple of biscuits.

If you forget to take your daily glimepiride, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time. If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember your medicines. These common side effects happen in more than 1 in people.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if these side effects bother you or don't go away:. Your eyesight may also be affected for a short time. This often happens when you start your treatment because of changes in your blood sugar levels. Glimepiride can sometimes cause low blood sugar known as "hypos" or hypoglycaemia. It's also possible for your blood sugar to go too low while you're asleep. If this happens, it can make you feel sweaty, tired and confused when you wake up. To prevent hypos, it's important to have regular meals, including breakfast.

Never miss or delay a meal. If you're planning to exercise more than usual, make sure you eat carbohydrates bread, pasta, cereals before, during or afterwards. Always carry a fast-acting carbohydrate with you, like sugar cubes, fruit juice or some sweets, in case your blood sugar level gets low. Artificial sweeteners won't help.

You may also need to eat a starchy carbohydrate, like a sandwich or a biscuit, to maintain your blood sugar for longer. If taking in sugar does not help or if the hypo symptoms come back, contact your doctor or the nearest hospital. Make sure your friends and family know about your diabetes and the symptoms of low blood sugar levels so they can recognise a hypo if it happens. It is possible to have a serious allergic reaction anaphylaxis to glimepiride. These are not all the side effects of glimepiride.

For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicines packet. You can report any suspected side effect to the UK safety scheme. Glimepiride is not generally recommended in pregnancy or while breastfeeding. It's not clear whether glimepiride can harm your unborn baby. For safety, your doctor will probably change your medicine to insulin if you're trying for a baby or as soon as you find out you're pregnant. Glimepiride isn't usually recommended while breastfeeding as there's a risk your baby may get low blood sugar. Talk to your doctor if you want to breastfeed. They will be able to recommend the best treatment for you and your baby.

Some medicines interfere with the way glimepiride works. Your doctor may need to adjust your dose of glimepiride. They may also recommend checking your blood sugar levels more often. Some women may need to adjust their dose of glimepiride after starting contraceptive pills. In rare cases contraceptive pills can increase blood sugar levels. However, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatories NSAIDs with glimepiride. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or high-dose aspirin can sometimes lower your blood sugar level.

For safety, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking any other medicines, including herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements. Sulfonylureas increase the amount of insulin that your pancreas makes. Insulin is the hormone that controls the level of sugar in your blood. You may not feel any different as you may not have any symptoms with type 2 diabetes.

This doesn't mean that glimepiride isn't working - and it's important to keep taking it. Glimepiride helps keep your blood sugar level stable and will reduce your chance of getting health problems due to diabetes in the future. Treatment for diabetes is usually for life. Do not stop taking glimepiride without talking to your doctor. If you want to stop taking your medicine, speak to your doctor. They may be able to suggest an alternative treatment for your diabetes.

Glimepiride is safe to take for a long time. There's no evidence that it harms your general health or your pancreas. However, glimepiride may stop working properly after a while. Your doctor may want to try you on a different medicine, or start prescribing another diabetes medicine along with glimepiride. Glimepiride belongs to a group of medicines called sulphonylureas. These include gliclazideglibenclamide, glipizide and tolbutamide. It's usually prescribed if you can't take metformin, or if metformin on its own isn't keeping your blood sugar under control.

If you have diabetesyou're entitled to free prescriptions for all of your medicines not just your diabetes ones.

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To claim your free prescriptionsyou'll need to have a medical exemption certificate FP92A. You can get an application form at your GP surgery. Once you've filled in the form, ask your doctor to it. If you're going to have an operation, tell your doctor beforehand that you're taking glimepiride. This is because glimepiride increases your risk of low blood sugar during the operation.

Low blood sugar can be difficult to detect when you're put to sleep with general anaesthetic. Glimepiride doesn't affect any type of contraception, including the combined pill and emergency contraception. However, talk to your doctor before starting to take contraceptive pills if you're already taking glimepiride. They may change your dose of glimepiride.

This is because contraceptive pills change how your body handles sugar. There's no firm evidence to suggest that taking glimepiride will reduce fertility in either men or women. However, speak to a pharmacist or your doctor if you're trying to get pregnant. They may want to review your treatment. Yes, you can drink alcohol while taking glimepiride. However, it's best to drink no more than 2 units a day. Drinking more than this can increase your risk of low blood sugar. Try to keep to the recommended guidelines of no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

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A standard glass of wine ml is 2 units. A pint of lager or beer is usually 2 to 3 units of alcohol. It's a good idea to cut down on foods with added sugar. Check the nutrition labels as many foods and drinks are high in sugar, such as:. Be careful eating food and drink containing karela because it can lower your blood sugar levels and mean your diabetes isn't controlled as well as it should be.

Karela also called bitter gourd is used to flavour foods such as curries. It has a bitter taste and is also made into juice and tea. Try to eat a healthy balanced diet without increasing your portion sizes. Regular exercise will also help you to keep your weight stable. If you are already overweight, talk to your doctor about the best way to avoid putting on any more weight. If your blood sugar levels are stable, your ability to drive, cycle or use machines or tools shouldn't be affected by glimepiride. However, if your blood sugar levels become too low, this can reduce your concentration.

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If this happens to you, do not drive, cycle, or use machines or tools until you feel better. If your eyesight if affected by changes in your blood sugar, do not drive or use machinery until you can see clearly again. See your doctor or optician if your vision doesn't get better. There are some lifestyle changes you can make to help control the symptoms of diabetes.

These include:. last reviewed: 26 February Next review due: 26 February Glimepiride On this About glimepiride Key facts Who can and can't take glimepiride How and when to take it Side effects How to cope with side effects Pregnancy and breastfeeding Cautions with other medicines Common questions. About glimepiride Glimepiride is a medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. Glimepiride lowers your blood sugar by increasing the amount of insulin your body produces.

Glimepiride is only available on prescription. It comes as tablets. It's usual to take glimepiride once a day in the morning.

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