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Glipizide (Glucotrol): 10 Answers Inc. Dosage, Side Effects, and Interactions

Answers to the most common questions about glipizide

Glipizide, an anti-diabetic medication sold under the brand name Glucotrol, is used to treat type 2 diabetes. The drug comes in two forms, fast-acting, and extended-release tablets. Regular tablets are dosed one or more times daily, while extended-release tablets are typically only taken once daily. It is typically used in combination with lifestyle changes such as an improved diet and exercise. It is not approved for use with Type 1 diabetes. However, its wide application for patients with Type 2 diabetes has made glipizide one of the top 200 most prescribed drugs in the US.

The content on this page is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, you should talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare professional. This is particularly important if you are taking multiple medications or have any existing medical conditions.

  1. How does glipizide Work?
  2. When should you take glipizide?
  3. What are the side effects of glipizide?
  4. How long does glipizide stay in your system?
  5. How long does it take glipizide to work?
  6. By how much does glipizide lower blood sugar?
  7. What is the right glipizide dosage for me?
  8. Does glipizide cause weight gain?
  9. Can I drink alcohol while taking glipizide?
  10. What’s the difference between glipizide and glimepiride?

1. How does glipizide Work?

Glipizide belongs to a drug class known as sulfonylureas. These drugs function by boosting the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin. By increasing insulin production, along with improving the body’s ability to use insulin effectively, can greatly lower the blood sugar of patients. Since this medication focuses on increasing the production of insulin, patients must be able to produce insulin naturally in their bodies. If they cannot, glipizide will not be effective for them.

2. When should you take glipizide?

The best time to take glipizide will vary depending on your HgbA1c, as this determines how many times you'll need to take glipizide daily. As a rule, patients should take glipizide a half-hour before a meal. This is to ensure that it works together with the insulin released by the body after eating. For patients who are prescribed extended-release tablets, take with breakfast daily. Many patients also find that by taking the tablet at the same time each day they are less likely to miss doses. If you’re unsure about when the best time to take glipizide is for you, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

3. What are the side effects of glipizide?

Glipizide can potentially cause side effects ranging from mild to severe. The list below includes some of the most common side effects but is not a complete list. Mild side effects may go away after a few days or weeks of consistent medication-taking, but if they persist or worsen you should speak with your doctor.

Common side effects:

  • Low blood sugar (cold clammy feeling, hunger, sweating, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, trembling, shakiness, tingling feeling)
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
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  • Drowsiness
  • Skin redness
  • Itchiness

Signs of hypoglycemia:

  • Severe headache
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Unusual hunger
  • Anxiety or shakiness

If you experience any of the signs of hypoglycemia, you should seek medical care immediately, as they may be a sign of low blood sugar.

In some rare cases, patients can experience allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms after taking Copaxone.

  • Skin rash
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the throat or chest
  • Difficulty talking or breathing
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat

4. How long does glipizide stay in your system?

The length of time that glipizide remains in the body can vary greatly between individual patients. The half-life of the drug is between 2-5 hours. This means that half of the medication has left a patient’s system during this period. However, it can take several half-lives before the drug is eliminated from someone’s system entirely, for most patients, 1 to 2 days. The effects of the drug will typically only remain for up to 24 hours, even if there are still traces within the body.

5. How long does it take glipizide to work?

Assuming a patient takes their dose of glipizide correctly, it will take about 30 minutes for the effects to appear. This is because glipizide is designed to work in conjunction with the insulin released by the body after a meal. That’s why patients must take glipizide half an hour before a meal to ensure it works properly. Even though the effects of the drug appear after 30 minutes, it usually takes around 3 hours before peak concentration occurs. Following this, the drug will slowly wear off, and will usually stop being effective after about 24 hours.

6. By how much does glipizide lower blood sugar?

Glipizide usually lowers patients' blood sugar levels by around 1-2%. However, there is always a risk that patients may experience low blood sugar. That’s why it’s important to watch out for symptoms of low blood sugar and seek medical attention if they occur.

7. What is the right glipizide dosage for me?

The proper dosage of glipizide will vary between patients and is based on several factors. You should always follow your doctor’s instructions or the directions on the label. The following information refers to typical doses for adult patients treating type 2 diabetes.

If you’re taking the immediate release dose, the initial dose will usually be 2.5mg, 5mg, or 10mg. (Note: geriatric patients or patients with liver disease are often started on 2.5mg). As treatment continues, patients will work with their doctors to fine-tune their dose based on their blood sugar response. However, the maximum dose should never exceed 40mg per day.

For patients taking the extended-release version of glipizide, the initial dose will also usually be between 2.5 to 5mg. However, the maximum dose should never exceed 20mg, rather than 40mg, as with the immediate release variant. As with other blood sugar medications, the dosage of glipizide is subject to change. Patients should be monitored closely to determine the minimum effective dosage for them.

8. Does glipizide cause weight gain?

For most patients, glipizide does not cause significant weight gain. However, it is a possibility, especially since it may lead to an increased appetite. If you’re worried about weight gain while taking glipizide you should speak with your doctor about weight loss strategies or the possibility of taking a different blood sugar medication.

9. Can I drink alcohol while taking glipizide?

It is generally not recommended to drink alcohol while taking glipizide. Alcohol can lead to reduced blood sugar and when combined with glipizide could lead to dangerously low levels. If you plan to drink anyways, you must first speak with your doctor about it. You should also avoid operating any heavy machinery until you understand how glipizide affects you, regardless of whether or not you drink alcohol.

10. What’s the difference between glipizide and glimepiride?

Patients often wonder what the difference between glipizide and glimepiride are. From a patient’s perspective, there is very little difference. They both are used to treat type 2 diabetes and are often prescribed in the same circumstances. They are equally safe, and if glipizide is ineffective for a patient, they may be prescribed glimepiride instead.


The content on this page is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, you should talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare professional. This is particularly important if you are taking multiple medications or have any existing medical conditions.

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