GENERIC NAME: repaglinide
BRAND NAME: Prandin
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Repaglinide is an oral medication for lowering blood sugar (glucose) in individuals with type 2 diabetes. It is in a class of drugs for treating diabetes type 2 called meglitinides that are chemically unlike other anti-diabetic medications. Nateglinide (Starlix), is another currently available meglitinide. Approximately 90% of patients with diabetes have type 2 or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adulthood, and is associated with obesity, and a strong family history of diabetes. Glucose intolerance that causes diabetes type 2 is caused by reduced insulin secretion from the pancreas after meals and resistance of the body's cells to insulin's effect which is to stimulate the cells to remove glucose from the blood. This leads to high levels of glucose in the blood.
Like sulfonylureas, for example, glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase), glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL), glimepiride (Amaryl), tolbutamide and tolazamide, repaglinide stimulates cells in the pancreas to produce insulin. Glyburide may be more potent than repaglinide at increasing insulin release in persons with low or high blood glucose levels, whereas repaglinide may be more potent in persons with more moderate abnormalities of blood glucose levels. Repaglinide is different because it has a rapid onset of action and a short duration of action. When taken just prior to meals, it promotes the release of insulin that normally occurs with meals and is responsible for preventing blood glucose levels from becoming high. It has been shown to lower hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels by 1.6% to 1.9%. (Hemoglobin A1c is a blood test which measures the effectiveness of a drug in controlling high blood glucose levels over prolonged periods of time; the lower the hemoglobin A1c, the better the control.) Repaglinide was approved by the FDA in 1997.
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