Know your Diabetes medication, one dose at a time! By Dr Sanket Pendsey
Mechanism of action
Gliclazide is an oral anti-diabetic drug. It lowers blood glucose levels by increasing patient’s own insulin secretion and thus increasing the insulin level in the blood. In 1942 there was an accidental discovery of hypoglycemic potential of sulphur containing antibiotics being used for treatment of typhoid fever. Subsequently, these drugs were first developed commercially in Germany in 1956. Later, gliclazide was introduced in late 1990’s. It is prescribed to patients with Type 2 Diabetes having poor blood sugar control in spite of diet control and exercise or other oral anti-diabetic drugs. It can be added to other oral anti-diabetic agents, especially metformin. Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and liver disease can also be prescribed gliclazide.
Gliclazide is administered as on oral tablet either once or twice daily before meals. Modified release (MR) preparation of gliclazide is also available which can be administered once a day in the morning and can be given at a lesser dose.
Gliclazide can be safely used in patients with liver disease as it is not metabolized in the liver. It has short duration of action and is relatively less potent drug. Hence, it is safe to use in elderly patients who are prone to hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia and weight gain are the major side effects of this drug.
Hypoglycemia occurs if patients consume smaller meals than usual or skips a meal or has a large gap in between meals.
Weight gain of two to five kilograms can occur after starting gliclazide.
Abdominal discomfort, headache and skin rashes can occur rarely in some patients.
Should not be used by
- patients with Type 1 Diabetes
- patients with kidney disease
- patients with a tendency of frequent hypoglycemic events
Dr Sanket Pendsey is a Consultant Diabetologist in Nagpur