Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013


Repaglinide is an oral blood-glucose-lowering drug.


Repaglinide is the active ingredient of NovoNorm

General information

Repaglinide is an oral blood-glucose-lowering drug. It is prescribed in the treatment and management of type-2 diabetes - a disease caused by a problem in the way the body makes or uses insulin which is necessary for glucose to move from the blood to the inside of the cells - that is not adequately controlled by diet and exercise alone.

Type-2 diabetes makes up 90 per cent or more of all cases of diabetes.

Treatment with oral anti-diabetic drugs should only be started once all lifestyle and dietary measures have been tried for at least three months and have not controlled blood-glucose adequately. Once treatment with this medication is started, diet and exercise should however not be stopped.

Repaglinide can be used on its own - and treatment is often started with one drug only - or in combination with other oral blood-glucose-lowering drugs.

This drug is faster-acting than most other oral antidiabetic drugs and has a short duration of action.

For repaglinide to remain effective it needs to be taken regularly. This medication is best given 30 minutes before a meal to allow the insulin that is released as a result of taking this drug, to cope with food. If a meal is likely to be missed the medication should not be taken.

Low blood sugar levels is a potential risk when being treated with this medication and other similar drugs - The dosage should titrated under supervision of your doctor until the right dose have been found. It is therefore recommended to start treatment with low doses.

Repaglinide tends to encourage weight gain and weight control is of great importance.

This medication is generally used when the body is still making some insulin.

How does repaglinide work?

Repaglinide acts by stimulating the release of insulin from the pancreas, thereby promoting sugar uptake in the body. This ultimately lowers the level of sugar in the blood.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 3

Available as: repaglinide is available as tablets

What does it do? repaglinide lowers blood sugar

Overdose risk: medium

Dependence risk : low

Is repaglinide available as a generic? no

Is repaglinide available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: within 30 minutes

Duration of action: up to 4 hours

Dietary advice: take this medication 30 minutes before a meal

Stopping this medicine: consult your doctor before stopping this medication. Diabetes may worsen with premature discontinuation

Prolonged use: p-rolonged use increases the risk for adverse effects

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • You have liver or kidney disease
  • You are taking other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children.

The elderly: caution is advised in the elderly as side effects may be more common.

Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness or light-headedness. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: avoid as concurrent use may cause an excessive drop in blood sugar levels.

Possible side effects

Side effect


Consult your doctor



Only if severe

In all cases







abdominal pain






joint pain









cold sweats



change in mental state




Drug interactions

antifungals such as ketoconazole

risk of Repaglinide toxicity


risk of Repaglinide toxicity


reduced effect of Repaglinide


reduced effect of Repaglinide

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have liver or kidney disease.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 0.5 - 4mg before meals up to a maximum of 16mg/day

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.


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