DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
There is no fixed dosage regimen for the management of diabetes mellitus with AMARYL or any other hypoglycemic agent. The patient's fasting blood glucose and HbA1c must be measured periodically to determine the minimum effective dose for the patient; to detect primary failure, i.e., inadequate lowering of blood glucose at the maximum recommended dose of medication; and to detect secondary failure, i.e., loss of adequate blood glucose lowering response after an initial period of effectiveness. Glycosylated hemoglobin levels should be performed to monitor the patients response to therapy.
Short-term administration of AMARYL may be sufficient during periods of transient loss of control in patients usually controlled well on diet and exercise.
Usual Starting Dose
The usual starting dose of AMARYL as initial therapy is 1–2 mg once daily, administered with breakfast or the first main meal. Those patients who may be more sensitive to hypoglycemic drugs should be started at 1 mg once daily, and should be titrated carefully. (See PRECAUTIONS Section for patients at increased risk.)
No exact dosage relationship exists between AMARYL and the other oral hypoglycemic agents. The maximum starting dose of AMARYL should be no more than 2 mg.
Failure to follow an appropriate dosage regimen may precipitate hypoglycemia. Patients who do not adhere to their prescribed dietary and drug regimen are more prone to exhibit unsatisfactory response to therapy.
Usual Maintenance Dose
The usual maintenance dose is 1 to 4 mg once daily. The maximum recommended dose is 8 mg once daily. After reaching a dose of 2 mg, dosage increases should be made in increments of no more than 2 mg at 1–2 week intervals based upon the patient's blood glucose response. Long-term efficacy should be monitored by measurement of HbA1c levels, for example, every 3 to 6 months.
AMARYL-Metformin Combination Therapy
If patients do not respond adequately to the maximal dose of AMARYL monotherapy, addition of metformin may be considered. Published clinical information exists for the use of other sulfonylureas including glyburide, glipizide, chlorpropamide, and tolbutamide in combination with metformin.
With concomitant AMARYL and metformin therapy, the desired control of blood glucose may be obtained by adjusting the dose of each drug. However, attempts should be made to identify the minimum effective dose of each drug to achieve this goal. With concomitant AMARYL and metformin therapy, the risk of hypoglycemia associated with AMARYL therapy continues and may be increased. Appropriate precautions should be taken.
AMARYL-Insulin Combination Therapy
Combination therapy with AMARYL and insulin may also be used in secondary failure patients. The fasting glucose level for instituting combination therapy is in the range of >150 mg/dL in plasma or serum depending on the patient. The recommended AMARYL dose is 8 mg once daily administered with the first main meal. After starting with low-dose insulin, upward adjustments of insulin can be done approximately weekly as guided by frequent measurements of fasting blood glucose. Once stable, combination-therapy patients should monitor their capillary blood glucose on an ongoing basis, preferably daily. Periodic adjustments of insulin may also be necessary during maintenance as guided by glucose and HbA1c levels.
Specific Patient Populations
AMARYL (glimepiride tablets) is not recommended for use in pregnancy or nursing mothers. Data are insufficient to recommend pediatric use of AMARYL. In elderly, debilitated, or malnourished patients, or in patients with renal or hepatic insufficiency, the initial dosing, dose increments, and maintenance dosage should be conservative to avoid hypoglycemic reactions. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Special Populations and PRECAUTIONS, General.)
Patients Receiving Other Oral Hypoglycemic Agents
As with other sulfonylurea hypoglycemic agents, no transition period is necessary when transferring patients to AMARYL. Patients should be observed carefully (1–2 weeks) for hypoglycemia when being transferred from longer half-life sulfonylureas (e.g., chlorpropamide) to AMARYL due to potential overlapping of drug effect.