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Glipizide (Glucotrol®)

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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  • Diabetes mellitus is a disorder of the pancreas characterized by insufficient production of insulin and high blood sugar. Insulin acts to move blood sugar into cells after eating, thereby lowering the blood glucose. Diabetes in dogs is typically of the type I variety, meaning there is an absolute lack of insulin. In many cats, as in people, diabetes mellitus is often of the type II variety. In type II diabetes, the cells are resistant to the effects of available insulin.
  • Glipizide is an oral drug used to help control type II diabetes mellitus. It has been shown to lower blood sugar in animals.
  • Glipizide is especially helpful in cats with type II diabetes. It is not effective in insulin dependant diabetics (type I diabetes) or in insulin resistant animals.
  • Glipizide has not been shown effective in dogs.
  • Glipizide is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Glucotrol® (Pfizer) and various generics
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Glipizide

  • Glipizide is used to regulate type II diabetes mellitus in cats.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, glipizide can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Glipizide should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Glipizide should not be used in cats with severe burns, infections, diabetic-related coma or ketosis.
  • Glipizide should be avoided in cats with low blood sugar. It will further lower the sugar.
  • Glipizide should be used with extreme caution in cats with kidney or liver disorders, malnourishment or fever.
  • Glipizide may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with glipizide. Such drugs include propranolol, barbiturates and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
  • Glipizide can result in dangerously low blood sugar concentrations.
  • Other side effects include vomiting and liver impairment.

    How Glipizide Is Supplied

  • Glipizide is available in 5 mg and 10 mg tablets.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • Dosing of glipizide depends on the needs of the diabetic cat. Typically, cats are given 2.5 to 5 mg two to three times daily.
  • The dose of glipizide may need to periodically be altered, based on the cat's response and the severity of diabetes.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse or prevent the development of resistance.

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