GENERIC NAME: nateglinide
BRAND NAME: Starlix
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Nateglinide is an oral drug used to lower blood sugar (glucose) levels in type 2 diabetes. It is in a class of drugs called meglitinides which also includes repaglinide (Prandin). Approximately 90% of patients with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adults and is associated with obesity and a strong family history of diabetes. Insulin is an important hormone that controls the blood level of glucose. Type 2 diabetics have an inability to control blood glucose levels. This is caused by reduced secretion of insulin from the pancreas after meals and resistance of the body's cells to the effect of insulin which is to stimulate the cells to remove glucose from the blood. This leads to high levels of blood glucose. Nateglinide stimulates cells in the pancreas to produce insulin in a manner similar to the class of drugs called sulfonylureas, for example, glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase and Micronase), which also are used in type 2 diabetes. However, nateglinide appears to have a faster onset and a shorter duration of action than sulfonylureas. The benefit of this faster, shorter effect may be to prevent the rapid, transient rise in blood glucose that occurs in diabetics immediately following a meal. Nateglinide was approved by the FDA in December 2000.
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