By: Jan Chait
In October 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an oral type 2 medication that combines glipizide and metformin.
Called Metaglip, the drug was approved for use both as an initial therapy for people whose diabetes cannot be controlled by diet and exercise alone and as a second-line therapy for those whose diabetes cannot be controlled by taking either a sulfonylurea or metformin alone in addition to diet and exercise.
Bristol-Myers Squibb, the drug’s manufacturer, says clinical trials showed Metaglip to be more effective in lowering blood-glucose levels than either glipizide or metformin alone.
The company cautions that, in rare cases, Metaglip may cause lactic acidosis (a buildup of lactic acid in the blood), which is a serious—and potentially fatal—condition that occurs mainly in individuals whose kidneys are not functioning properly. Alcohol use also can contribute to lactic acidosis.
Those who should not take Metaglip include people with kidney problems; those who are 80 or older (unless their kidneys have been tested); those who are taking medication for heart failure; and people who are seriously dehydrated, have a serious infection or have had liver disease.