General Description: Glipizide is a drug used to lower blood sugar to normal levels in diabetic cats. It may be used in conjunction with a low carbohydrate diet, exercise +/- insulin therapy. Glipizide is available as 5 mg tablets.
What is this drug?
Glipizide is an antidiabetic agent; an oral hypoglycemic agent; a sulfonylurea
Glipizide is not a cure for diabetes, but a tool to control blood sugars and alleviate clinical signs
Works by causing the pancreas to release more insulin
Given orally to cats
Reasons for prescribing:
Used to lower blood sugar to normal levels in cats with diabetes mellitus (Type II)
What dogs/cats should not take this medication?
Use with caution in cats with untreated disease of the pituitary or adrenal glands.
Not for use during diabetic emergencies, including diabetic coma
Pets who have stopped eating, are anorexic, vomiting, showing signs of extreme drowsiness or fatigue and/or showing signs of severe ketoacidosis
Cats with liver, kidney or thyroid disease or a serious infection, illness or trauma
Pregnant and nursing cats
Known to be ineffective in cats resistant to insulin therapy
Pets known to have had an allergic reaction to glipizide or other sulfa drugs
Give the exact amount prescribed and only as often as directed. If you have difficulty giving the medication, let your veterinarian know.
It is usually given twice daily with meals . Ideally, give the medication at the same time(s) daily.
Do not skip doses or stop giving the medication without consulting your veterinarian. If you have difficulty giving glipizide, discuss this with your veterinarian.
It is usually given for the rest of the cat’s life.
If your cat’s blood sugar values do not improve after 1-2 months, it might be best to switch your cat to insulin.
Baseline blood work to assess your pet’s health before starting this drug will need to be performed. Periodic blood work to monitor its effect is necessary also. Dose adjustments will be made based upon the results and an assessment of how your dog is responding clinically.
Follow any diet or exercise plan developed for your pet by your veterinarian. Do not change the pet’s food, feeding schedule or exercise schedule once regulated.
Do not give a dose of glipizide if the pet is experiencing low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). Common causes for hypoglycemia include: failure to eat, accidental doubling of glipizide dose, strenuous exercise, drug effects.
Ensure you always have at least one extra bottle of glipizide on hand. Call ahead for refills.
Ensure your pet has fresh, clean drinking water at all times. Monitoring water consumption and urination amount is a good indication of glucose control.
Tell your veterinarian that your cat is taking glipizide before undergoing any surgery.
What if dose is missed?
If you miss a dose, give it as soon as you remember it, but if it is within a few hours of the regularly scheduled dose, wait and give it at the regular time. Occasional missed doses are easily tolerated; overdoses can be fatal.
What to tell/ask veterinarian before giving medication?
Talk to your veterinarian about:
The signs of diabetes mellitus that you’ve noticed
When will your pet need to be rechecked. Frequent blood glucose tests will need to be done initially to ensure glipizide is doing its job and that the correct dose is being used.
The importance of consistent daily dosing, consistent weight, diet and exercise and home monitoring
Risks and benefits of using this drug
Tell your veterinarian about:
If your pet has experienced side-effects on other drugs/products
If your pet has experienced digestive upset now or ever
If your pet has experienced liver, pancreas, thyroid, adrenal gland or kidney disease now or ever
If your pet has experienced any other medical problems or allergies now or ever
All medicines and supplements that you are giving your pet or plan to give your pet, including those you can get without a prescription. Your veterinarian may want to check that all of your pet’s medicines can be given together.
If your pet is pregnant or nursing. Spaying your intact pet will likely be necessary.
Storage and Warnings:
Store in a tight, light resistant, childproof container in a cool, dry place at room temperature away from heat and direct sunlight.
Keep this and all medication out of reach of children and pets. Call your physician immediately if you accidentally take this product.
Pet owners allergic to glipizide or sulfa drugs should wear gloves and exercise extreme caution while handling this drug.
Potential side effects:
It may lose its effect after several months. It is not effective in all diabetic cats. These cats will need treatment with insulin.
Your cat may vomit initially, but this should stop in 2-5 days. Contact your veterinarian if it doesn’t.
Some cats experience nausea and appetite loss. Give the medication in food to help with these symptoms. Not eating can be dangerous for the diabetic pet.
A sudden lowering of blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may occur when treatment is first started. If you notice your cat with any of the following signs, rub ¼ teaspoon of Karo® syrup carefully onto the gums and take your cat to the veterinarian: weakness, wobbling, head tilting, shivering, sleepiness, glassy eyes, seizures, hunger, confusion or uncharacteristically inactive.
Hypoglycemia may occur at other times as well. It can be caused by giving too much glipizide, missing or delaying food, changing the food or amount fed, increasing exercise, an infection or illness or a drug interaction.
Liver toxicity occurs in some cats. Signs would include vomiting, depression, decreased appetite, jaundice (yellowing of the skin, gums or eyes). Your veterinarian will want to test your cat’s liver enzymes every 1-2 weeks initially.
Possible bone marrow suppression leading to anemia (pale gums, weakness, lethargy, bruising or bleeding tendencies) and decreased white cell counts which puts your cat at greater risk of infection.
Contact your veterinarian if your cat drinks or urinates more or has any other signs that the diabetes is not well-controlled.
High blood sugar (hyperglycemia): notify your veterinarian immediately if the pet experiences unusual thirst, hunger and urination
If your pet had an allergic reaction, s/he would experience difficult breathing, hives, scratching, swollen lips, tongue or face, sudden onset of diarrhea, vomiting, shock, seizures, pale gums, cold limbs, or coma. If you observe any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Females should be spayed as estrus will change insulin requirements
If you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian
Can this drug be given with other drugs?
Yes, but possible interactions may occur with cimetidine, chloramphenicol, furazolidone, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as aspirin, meloxicam), phenothiazines (ex. acepromazine), steroids (ex. prednisone), sulfa drugs (ex. SMZ/TMP), thiazide diuretics and warfarin.
Do not give any other prescription or over-the-counter drugs, including vitamins, minerals, herbal products, cold, allergy, pain medications without first talking to your veterinarian.
If your pet experiences any unusual reactions when taking multiple medications, contact your veterinarian
Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet receives more than the prescribed amount.
What else should I know?
Have your pet wear an identification tag that indicates it is a diabetic. Perhaps include your veterinarian’s name and phone number.
Never leave home without sugar or corn syrup. Liquid glucose packets can be bought at your pharmacy. Become very aware of your pet’s ‘normal’ behavior in order to determine when something is wrong.
There are urine dipstick tests that can help you measure urine glucose. If you detect ketones in the urine, this can be a very bad sign. Contact your veterinarian if urine ketones persist more than a couple of days.
Litter additives that detect glucose in urine are also available.
Notify your veterinarian if your animal’s condition does not improve or worsens despite this treatment.
As with all prescribed medicines, glipizide should only be given to the dog/cat for which it was prescribed.
This is just a summary of information about glipizide. If you have any questions or concerns about glipizide or diabetes, contact your veterinarian.