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Glipizide is available as a generic and brand-name drug that doctors usually prescribe for treating type 2 diabetes. The medication is marketed under the brand names Glucotrol & Glucotrol XL. The medication comes as immediate-release and extended-release oral tablets, which adults can use according to the dosage prescribed to them. While the medication can be beneficial for diabetic patients, its usage should be done cautiously. There are certain side effects of Glipizide that can get worse if the dosages are not followed correctly. In the end, before starting your treatment with this medication, make sure that you are discussing every risk and benefit with your healthcare provider.

Glipizide Overview

Glipizide is an FDA-approved oral medication used to manage type 2 diabetes. It contains the active ingredient glipizide, a sulfonylurea that influences the pancreas to release more insulin, helping lower blood sugar levels. As a prescription drug, Glipizide is recommended for patients who cannot control their diabetes through diet and exercise alone.

This medication is usually taken once daily, 30 minutes before breakfast, to maximize its blood sugar-lowering effects. It is suitable for adults who have type 2 diabetes. Glipizide works by increasing insulin production and improving the body’s response to insulin, effectively controlling blood glucose levels and preventing complications related to diabetes.

Common side effects of this medication may include dizziness, headache, nausea, and gastrointestinal discomfort. Patients should be cautious of signs of hypoglycemia, such as sweating, dizziness, and confusion, and should always have a source of sugar available. It is important to inform healthcare providers of any general allergies, existing medical conditions, or other medications being taken to avoid adverse interactions. If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as possible unless it is time for the next dose. In the case of an overdose, get immediate medical attention. Store Glipizide at a specific room temperature, away from moisture, and keep it out of reach of children.

Uses of Glipizide

The FDA approves this medication for managing blood sugar levels in people suffering from conditions like type 2 diabetes. It can also be used off-label to treat other conditions. Ask your healthcare provider before using Glipizide for purposes other than type 2 diabetes. 

Glipizide Dosage

Strengths and Forms

The medication is available in oral tablet form and has the following strengths:

  • Immediate-Release Tablets: 5 and 10 mg
  • Extended-Release Tablets: 2.5, 5 and 10 mg

Recommended Glipizide Dosage for Different Patients

Adult Dosage for Type 2 Diabetes (18-64 Years)

  • Extended-Release Tablets: Take 5 mg once daily with your morning meal. The maximum dosage of Glipizide is 40 mg per day.
  • Immediate-Release Tablets: Take 5 mg two times a day every 12 hours or 30 minutes before your morning meal and last meal, i.e., dinner.
  • Switching IR to ER: If your Glipizide dose is 20 mg or less and you are transitioning from immediate-release tablets to extended-release tablets or the other way around, there will be no dose adjustment. However, if your dose is more than 20 mg of IR tablets, doctors may adjust your ER tablets to 20 mg.

Children’s Dosage for Type 2 Diabetes (0-17 Years)

  • Usage is not recommended as the safety and efficacy for children under 17 years have not been determined yet.

Senior Dosage for Type 2 Diabetes (65 Years and Above)

  • Older adults are at high risk of low blood sugar. So, the doctors may start these patients on a lower dosage of 2.5 mg once daily.
Special Dosage Considerations
  • Kidney or Liver Impaired Patients: Doctors will start these patients on lower dosages to prevent problems like low blood sugar levels.
  • Adrenal or Pituitary Insufficiency: Doctors will start these patients on lower dosages to prevent problems like low blood sugar levels.
  • When Taking Other Medications: For patients taking Glipizide ER tablets with other diabetic medications, doctors may adjust their dosage to 5 mg per day. However, if the patients are at high risk of low blood sugar, they will be prescribed a lower dose.

[Note: Remember, these recommendations may vary from person to person. Discuss it with your doctor, and they’ll customize your dosage accordingly.]

How to Take Glipizide?

  • Explore the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist for detailed administration steps.
  • Follow your doctor’s dosage instructions to avoid any complications.
  • Take your medicine by mouth with a glass of water, with or without food, as directed by a medical professional.
  • Take your medicines immediately after opening them from the package.
  • If you are taking your medicine one time a day, take it 30 minutes before your breakfast unless instructed otherwise.
  • Take your medication at the same time each day for effective results.
  • Try to swallow the tablets as a whole.
  • Avoid breaking, crushing, or chewing the tablets.
  • If you are unable to swallow your medicine, talk to a medical expert. They will suggest alternate options.
  • Do not discontinue the use without consulting it first with your healthcare provider.
  • The doses are based on the patient’s condition and body needs, so do not exceed or subceed the dosage unless directed by your medical provider.

[Note: Your doctor will decide the right amount for you based on your condition, following guidelines and studies on the drug. They’ll adjust it as needed over time.]

How Does Glipizide Work?

Glipizide is an FDA-approved prescription drug in the sulfonylureas drug class. This drug works by helping the pancreas release more insulin. Generally, when you eat food, the carbohydrates or sugar in your food get absorbed into the bloodstream, and this sugar is removed from the blood with the help of insulin produced by the pancreas. Insulin is basically a hormone that signals your body to transfer the sugar from the bloodstream and into your cells. This is a general process for people without diabetes. However, patients with type 2 diabetes are unable to release or respond to insulin properly, which causes blood sugar to stay high. When these patients take Glipizide with a meal, the medication helps in reducing their blood sugar levels.

Glipizide Side Effects

Common side effects of Glipizide may include:

  • Digestive issues
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Dizziness
  • Skin rash
  • Sweating
  • Fast heart beats
  • Gastric problems
  • Drowsiness
  • Nervousness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Shakiness

Serious side effects of Glipizide may include:

  • Low blood sugar. Its symptoms may include:
    • Feeling hungry
    • Nervousness
    • Shakiness
    • Excessive sweating
    • Chills
    • Lightheadedness
    • Feeling sleepy
    • Confusion
    • Blurred vision
    • Headache
    • Depression
    • Irritability
    • Crying spells
    • Nightmares
  • Allergic reaction. Symptoms are:
    • Red, itchy, or dry skin
    • Skin rashes
  • Low blood sodium levels. Symptoms may include
    • Confusion
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle weakness
    • Seizures
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Headache
    • Coma
  • Low blood cell or platelet counts. Symptoms can include:
    • Infections
    • Bleeding that doesn’t stop
  • Liver problems. Signs may include:
    • Pale or tar-colored stool
    • Tiredness
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Bruises
    • Jaundice
    • Stomach pain and swelling
    • Swelling in your legs and ankles (edema)
    • Itchy skin
    • Dark-colored urine

[Note: Remember, this list may not cover all possible side effects. Always consult with your healthcare giver for medical advice about side effects.]

Glipizide Warnings

  • Heart Problems: Glipizide can increase the risk of fatal heart problems compared to treatments with diet or diet combined with insulin. So, talk to your healthcare professional about whether the medication is the right fit for you.
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Glipizide is not advised to treat medical conditions like diabetic ketoacidosis. Failing to do so can result in complications, including coma. This condition should be treated with insulin only.
  • Low Blood Sugar: There are cases where patients have observed low blood sugar. If you do not treat this condition, you can experience seizures, fainting, and developing brain damage. So, before starting your treatment, make sure to talk to your medical practitioner.
  • Allergies: Glipizide can cause severe allergic reactions in patients. If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms, get medical assistance. These symptoms may include:
    • Difficulty while breathing
    • Hives
    • Skin rash
    • Swelling of throat or tongue
  • Alcohol Interaction: Patients are recommended to avoid taking alcohol with this medication, as the drug can cause a disulfiram reaction. Its symptoms are:
    • Increased heart rate
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fainting
    • Headache
    • Flushing

If you notice such signs of disulfiram reactions, immediately seek medical assistance.

  • Liver & Kidney Problems: Patients with liver or kidney problems should talk to their doctors before making any decision, as the drug can build up in their bodies, causing low blood sugar levels.
  • Sick or Injured Patients: Glipizide cannot control blood sugar levels in people who are undergoing surgery, injured, or have a fever, trauma, or any kind of infection. Therefore, it is important to consult with a medical professional before taking this drug, as they may temporarily give insulin to such populations.
  • Enzyme Deficiency: This medication is not recommended for patients with G6PD or glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase enzyme deficiency. Failing to do so can lead to anemia.
  • Short Bowel Syndrome: If you have this condition, Glipizide ER tablets may not work for you, as this syndrome affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients or drugs properly. Talk to your doctor; they will suggest other options.

Glipizide Precautions

  • If you want to start your treatment with Glipizide, talk to a medical expert before using the medication. Tell them about your allergies or if you are allergic to any of the product’s ingredients. The medication may contain certain inactive ingredients that can cause severe allergic reactions.
  • Before undergoing any surgery or medical procedure, inform your surgeon or doctor about your medical history and the products you use. This includes all prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products.
  • The medication can cause hypoglycemia, which is a common side effect of Glipizide, and certain medical conditions may increase the risk of this effect. So, if you fall under any of the following criteria, talk to a medical professional.
    • Aged 65 years or above
    • Kidney, liver, or adrenal gland problems
    • Uses insulin or other drugs that lower blood sugar levels
    • Uses alcohol
    • Skip meals or do not eat regularly
    • Does intense workout or physical activity
  • Do not use this medication unless a medical expert has prescribed it.
  • Avoid sharing your medicine with other individuals even if they share the same problems. This action may result in adverse effects.
  • There are times when you notice something in your stool that may look like a tablet. This is quite normal; do not panic in such situations.
  • Glipizide may make your skin extremely sensitive to sunlight, a condition known as photosensitivity. Sun exposure can cause severe blisters, swelling, and sunburns. Therefore, ensure that you take protective measures, such as using sunscreen, wearing full clothes and a hat, and avoiding sunlamps and tanning beds.

Glipizide Other Important Precautions

  • Pregnant Women: While there is not enough information on the effects of Glipizide in humans, animal research has shown adverse effects on the unborn baby when the mother takes this drug during the pregnancy. Therefore, if you are pregnant or planning to become one, avoid using this medication, as the drug may harm the fetus. Consult with a medical professional before making any decisions. This drug should only be used if the potential benefits overpower the potential risks. However, if you have diabetes during your pregnancy, inform your healthcare provider. They will suggest alternate treatments or help determine if the drug is safe for use.
  • Breastfeeding: It is still unknown whether the drug enters into the breast milk or not, but if it does, it can have serious reactions in a breastfeeding child. Therefore, mothers are advised to talk with a medical professional before using this medication.

Glipizide Contraindications

It is contraindicated in patients who have:

  • Hypersensitivity to Glipizide or any of its components.
  • Allergic reaction to sulfonamide derivatives. 
  • Type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis.

Glipizide Missed Dose

Patients are advised to take their medicines at the same time and avoid skipping any doses, but if someone has mistakenly missed a dose, they can:

  • Take the missed dose as soon as they remember, but take the medicine if you can have your meal within 30 minutes.
  • If you are unable to eat food within the mentioned time frame, skip the dose.
  • Do not try to take double doses just to make up for the missed one.
  • Use medication apps or set reminders on your phone to avoid skipping any dose.
  • If you have any more questions or concerns, you can talk to a medical expert. They will suggest some alternate options.

[Note: If you have missed a dose of your medication and are unsure about when to take the next one, immediately consult your doctor or pharmacist.]

Glipizide Overdose

An overdose of Glipizide may result in harmful effects. Therefore, patients are advised not to take an exceeding amount of their maximum daily dose as it can result in severe hypoglycemia (extremely low blood sugar levels). If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, get medical help immediately.

  • Seizure
  • Coma
  • Fainting or passing out

[Note: If you consumed more than the recommended dose, get medical help right away or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.]

Glipizide Storage

  • Store the medicines at a temperature below 30°C. 
  • Keep the medication in a locked container.
  • Keep them away from moisture and light.
  • Do not store the medicines in damp areas like the bathroom or near the sink.
  • Keep them out of reach and sight of children and your pets.
  • Do not keep the medication under direct sunlight.
  • Do not flush the medicine down the toilet.
  • Discard the medication when not in use or past its expiration date.
  • Dispose of the tablets safely. You can ask your medical provider or pharmacist for appropriate steps.
  • Avoid freezing Glipizide.
  • Read the product’s label for detailed storage instructions.

[Note: Discuss with your healthcare professional about the proper disposal of any unused medicine and any questions you may have regarding its storage.]

Glipizide Interactions

Glipizide XL oral tablets can have various drug interactions. These interactions can have different effects on patients. While some interactions may affect the functioning of the drug, others can increase the side effects of certain medications or worsen them. Here is a list of a few drugs that can have adverse effects when taken with Glipizide:

  • Amiodarone
  • Adagrasib
  • Aminolevulinic acid
  • Cinoxacin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Delafloxacin
  • Enoxacin
  • Fluconazole
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Gemfibrozil
  • Gemifloxacin
  • Grepafloxacin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Lomefloxacin
  • Miconazole
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Nalidixic acid
  • Nitisinone
  • Norfloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Trovafloxacin
  • Voriconazole

[Note: This isn’t a complete list, and there could be other drugs that interact with Glipizide. Make sure to tell your doctor about any prescription, over-the-counter medicines, and herbal products you’re taking.]

Glipizide Alternatives

[Note: Your doctor will choose what’s best for you. Don’t use any of these alternative medications without consulting your healthcare provider. Taking them by yourself may cause serious side effects.] 

Frequently Asked Questions For Glipizide

Can I break Glipizide in half?

Glipizide tablets can generally be split if they are not extended-release formulations. Breaking the tablet in half can help in adjusting the dose. However, it’s crucial to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and ensure that the specific type of Glipizide you are prescribed can be safely split.

What happens if I take Glipizide on an empty stomach?

Taking Glipizide on an empty stomach is recommended as it enhances the medication’s effectiveness. It is typically advised to take this medication 30 minutes before breakfast. This timing helps in better controlling blood sugar levels after meals, reducing the risk of spikes.

Will I experience hair loss while taking Glipizide?

Hair loss is not a common side effect of Glipizide. Most patients do not experience this issue. However, if you notice significant hair loss or other unusual symptoms, it’s important to discuss them with your healthcare provider to rule out other causes or medications.

Can I take Glipizide and Metformin together for quick results?

Yes, Glipizide and Metformin are often prescribed together for better blood sugar control. This combination can be effective in managing type 2 diabetes as they work in different ways to lower blood sugar levels. Always follow your healthcare provider’s dosage instructions for effective results and to avoid any potential side effects.

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