How to use Duetact: doses and administration, warning and precautions
Duetact tablets are a combination product of two oral antihyperglycemic agents, pioglitazone and glimepiride. This concomitant use was previously approved based on clinical trials in patients with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled by a sulfonylurea medication. More information about the efficacy and safety for each agent may be found in the prescribing information for that particular drug. Pioglitazone is an oral antidiabetic medication designed to help control blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
On average, the Duetact price is about $628 for a supply of 30, 2 mg-30 mg tablets.
Common DosesDuetact should be taken once daily with breakfast or with the first main meal of the day. The Duetact tablet is available in 30 mg pioglitazone plus 2 mg glimepiride or a 30 mg pioglitazone plus 4 mg glimepiride. If doctors think the combination tablet with both drugs is appropriate, they will usually start with this recommended dose:
- 30 mg/2 mg or 30 mg/4 mg once daily, dose to be increased as needed after considering therapeutic response and tolerability,
- for patients who are not responding well to treatment with glimepiride monotherapy: 30 mg/2 mg or 30 mg/4 mg once daily, and increase the dose gradually as needed after assessing how well the patient is responding to treatment and tolerability,
- for patients who aren't responding well to pioglitazone monotherapy: 30 mg/2 mg once daily, slowly increasing the dose as needed after assessing therapeutic response and tolerability.
The dose may be adjusted or titrated up every one to two weeks depending on the need or depending on the response to the medication, up to a maximum of eight milligrams daily. However, the typical dose range is usually between one and four milligrams. Hardly do you see anybody on eight milligrams.
What If I have missed a dose?Do not take or double the dose of glimepiride for any reason. Sometimes when people forget their medications, they tend to double up. This is not one of their medications. And for that matter, most medications, you really don't want to be doing that. Just take it at the earliest time when you remember, or if you're close to your next dose, just skip this one and take your next dose at the appropriate time.
When it comes to side effects, the most common one is hypoglycemia or low blood sugar occurring in about 4% to 19.7% of the population. And that's a very significant number. If you talk about 19.7% of the people, that's about one in every five people is at risk of developing hypoglycemia at some point in time whilst on glimepiride. So that's definitely something to be wary of. And nausea has been reported in about 5% of the people, dizziness, headache, and weight gain has also been noted with glimepiride. Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, but these are some of the more common ones that we tend to see on a regular basis.
Less common, but potentially serious suicide effect is the development of Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Stephens-Johnson syndrome is typically manifested in the form of a rash and it can be fatal.
Other Warnings and Precautions
Do not drink alcohol while you take this medication. That's because alcohol significantly increases the risk of developing hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. So definitely not a good combo if you are taking glimepiride. Also, it would be a good idea to know the symptoms of low blood sugar and also how to manage them. Just know the symptoms, sweating, shakiness and a few others. It would be good that even generally as a diabetic to know those things and know how to respond to them. And also maybe a good idea to carry a quick source of sugar with you. Usually it's recommended to have some glucose tablets or some hard candy with you just in case your sugar level dips too low so you can immediately bring it up. If possible, also, while taking this medication, minimize your exposure to the sun.