Repaglinide
Repaglinide (Generic)
Repaglinide
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WHAT IS REPAGLINIDE?

Repaglinide is an antidiabetic drug belonging to the meglitinide class. It is used in adjunct to diet and exercise for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), specifically in those who are non-insulin dependent. It works by lowering blood glucose and preventing hyperglycemia. Controlling hyperglycemia prevents downstream complications such as kidney damage, loss of limbs, blindness, heart attack, stroke, or nerve problems. It is important to keep control over diabetes to decrease the chance of experiencing related complications. Repaglinide should not be used in those with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

HOW DOES REPAGLINIDE WORK?

Repaglinide works by decreasing blood glucose levels in the blood. Repaglinide exerts this effect by initiating insulin production in the pancreas. This mechanism requires functioning (ß) cells in the pancreatic islets, and therefore repaglinide does not work in patients with T1DM. The production of insulin depends on glucose and results in decreased concentrations of glucose.

Repaglinide shuts ATP-dependent potassium channels within the membrane of ß-cells. Inhibition of these potassium channels depolarizes the ß-cell, causing calcium channels to open. Increased influx of calcium causes the release of insulin. This phenomenon is highly selective to ion channels in certain tissues, so skeletal and heart muscle are not affected.

SIDE EFFECTS

Common side effects include:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Respiratory infection
  • Headache
  • Sinus infection
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Back pain
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Weight gain

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Hypoglycemia

As with all glucose-lowering drugs, repaglinide can cause hypoglycemia. To avoid hypoglycemia, use caution when initiating repaglinide, taking into account the patient, dose, and patient instructions. Specifically, those with hepatic, renal, adrenal, and pituitary insufficiency may have increased serum concentrations of repaglinide and are more likely to experience hypoglycemia. Additionally, patients who are elderly, debilitated, or malnourished may be more sensitive to hypoglycemic events. The elderly and those also on beta-blockers may have a more difficult time recognizing signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia has a higher likelihood of occurring in the instance of extensive exercise, alcohol consumption, or when used with more than one glucose-lowering drug.

Macrovascular Outcomes

Decreased macrovascular risk with repaglinide or other antidiabetic drugs have not been proven in any clinical studies.

Hepatic Disease

A study with both healthy patients and patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) evaluated repaglinide. Those with liver function impairments had increased and prolonged concentrations of repaglinide in the blood. Therefore, those with hepatic impairment may have higher exposure to repaglinide and its metabolites compared to those with normal liver function. Consequently, repaglinide should be used with caution in those with hepatic dysfunction. Dose adjustments should be made such as lengthening the intervals between doses.

Uncontrolled Blood Glucose

If a diabetic patient controlled on an antidiabetic regimen experiences stress such as fever, infection, surgery, or trauma, they are at increased likelihood of losing glucose control. In these situations, it may be best to stop repaglinide and use insulin instead. Additionally, drugs that lower blood glucose may lose effectiveness over time, which is known as secondary failure. Before determining the patient is experiencing secondary failure, ensure their dose is adjusted appropriately and that they are adhering to a proper diet.

Renal Impairment

For those with mild renal impairment, an initial dose reduction is not necessary. However, in those with severe renal impairment, repaglinide should be initiated at a dose of 0.5 milligrams (mg) and titrated appropriately. Repaglinide has not been studied in those with a creatinine clearance of less than 20 mL/min or those needing hemodialysis.

DRUG INTERACTIONS

Various studies evaluated interactions between repaglinide and other drugs. Of note, there were no interactions between repaglinide and digoxin, warfarin, or theophylline. Additionally, concomitant use of cimetidine and repaglinide did not affect repaglinide absorption.

 Gemfibrozil and Itraconazole

Concomitant use of gemfibrozil and repaglinide cause an 8.1-fold increase in repaglinide area under the curve (AUC) and an extended half-life. Concomitant use also resulted in an increased AUC. Concomitant use of both gemfibrozil, itraconazole, and repaglinide caused a 19-fold higher repaglinide AUC and a profoundly increased half-life. Patients taking gemfibrozil should not be administered repaglinide. Use caution when also taking itraconazole.

SPECIAL POPULATIONS

Pregnancy

Repaglinide did not elicit teratogenic effects in animal models, but these results are not always predictive of human response. Therefore, the safety of repaglinide is not fully established in pregnant women. However, uncontrolled glucose levels during pregnancy have been linked to congenital abnormalities. Therefore, only use repaglinide if truly needed, and consider insulin as an alternative.

Lactation

It is not known if repaglinide is excreted into human milk during lactation. Because of the hypoglycemia potential to nursing infants, providers should consider discontinuing repaglinide. If stopped, patients should maintain an adequate diet and be started on insulin therapy if needed.

Pediatrics

Repaglinide has not been evaluated in pediatric patients.

Geriatrics

Older adults may have greater sensitivity to repaglinide. Use caution when initiating in geriatric patients.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The dose of repaglinide will be different for different patients. Take Repaglinide exactly as your doctor tells you to take it. Typically, repaglinide is taken multiple times a day with meals. Take tablets within 30 minutes of a meal and swallow the tablet whole. Never crush, chew, or cut tablets.

Repaglinide should also be taken in conjunction with proper diet and exercise. You should maintain a regular exercise and diet schedule to prevent changes in blood sugar levels. Additionally, check your blood sugar regularly and always share results with your provider. Your medications and doses will depend on these results. If you do not see changes to your blood sugar levels within a week of starting repaglinide, contact your provider.

Repaglinide is provided as 0.5, 2, and 4 mg tablets. You may be started on as low as 0.5 mg taken with each meal. The typical dose of repaglinide is 0.5 to 4 mg before each meal. The maximum total daily dose is 16 mg daily. Repaglinide should start working within 30 minutes, and effects will last for a few hours.

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember, but only take the dose if you are preparing to eat a meal. If you skip a meal, do not take a dose. Wait until the next meal to take a dose. Do not take more than one dose of repaglinide at once.

Repaglinide can be taken long term to control type II diabetes mellitus.

Repaglinide should always be taken within 30 minutes of having a meal.

If you take too much repaglinide, you should immediately go to the emergency room or contact the Poison Control Center. Overdosing on repaglinide can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia. Symptoms of serious hypoglycemia include sweating, blurred vision, weakness, difficulty speaking, stomach pain, tremors, confusion, or seizures.

Avoid excessive alcohol intake, as this increases one’s risk for developing low blood sugar. Do not binge drink in short periods, and you should not drink a lot of alcohol on a normal basis.

Common side effects of repaglinide include:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Respiratory infection
  • Headache
  • Sinus infection
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Back pain
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Weight gain

Contact your provider immediately if you have signs and symptoms of severe adverse effects, such as:

  • Fever, confusion, or weakness
  • Pale or yellow skin
  • Serious upper abdominal pain radiating to the back
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives, trouble breathing, swelling in the face or throat, or rash

It is important that you tell your doctor all of the medications, vitamins, and supplements that you take. Maintain a medication list to give to your healthcare provider and pharmacist every time you get a new medicine. This is important because repaglinide may interact with other medicines and affect how they work, and other medicines influence how repaglinide works. Specifically, tell your doctor if you are taking:

  • Gemfibrozil
  • Cyclosporine
  • Clopidogrel
  • NPH insulin

Additionally, tell your doctor if you:

  • Have type 1 diabetes
  • Have a history of diabetic ketoacidosis or are risk for diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Have kidney problems.
  • Have liver problems.
  • Take other diabetes medications
  • Are planning on having surgery
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed

Repaglinide has not been evaluated in children. If you have questions about using repaglinide in your child, contact your doctor.

Repaglinide should be stored at room temperature which is between 68°F to 77°F. Keep repaglinide away from excessive heat or moisture, and do not keep repaglinide in a bathroom. Repaglinide should be kept out of reach from children. Do not hold on to expired medicine or medicine that you no longer need. Ask your doctor how you should dispose of any repaglinide you do not use.