Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Meglitinides for Type 2 Diabetes

Examples

Generic NameBrand Name
nateglinideStarlix
repaglinidePrandin

Nateglinide (Starlix), repaglinide (Prandin), and the combination medicine repaglinide and metformin (Prandimet) help stop the rapid rise in blood sugar levels that can occur immediately after a person with type 2 diabetes eats.

How It Works

Meglitinides increase the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas, which lowers blood sugar.

Meglitinides work quickly and do not stay in the body long, so they need to be taken at or just before each meal.

Why It Is Used

Meglitinides are used to treat type 2 diabetes in people whose blood sugar levels have not stayed within a target range even though the people are being active and eating healthy foods.

Both meglitinides and sulfonylurea medicines increase the amount of insulin made by the pancreas, but some people have problems with weight gain and low blood sugar with sulfonylureas. Meglitinides seem to cause less weight gain and low blood sugar compared to sulfonylureas.

Because meglitinides work quickly and do not stay in the body long, they are good for people who do not or cannot eat on the same schedule each day.

How Well It Works

Diabetes medicines work best for people who are being active and eating healthy foods. Studies have suggested that meglitinides lower hemoglobin A1c by 0.5% to 1.5%.1

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that can get worse over time, so medicines may need to change.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call911or other emergency services right away if you have:

Call your doctor if you have:

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Low blood sugar.
  • Joint pain.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Checkups

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

Citations

  1. American Diabetes Association (2009). Medical management of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes: A consensus algorithm for the initiation and adjustment of therapy. Diabetes Care, 32: 193–203.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJennifer Hone, MD - Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Last RevisedMay 2, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 02, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article