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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsKIRSTIE GALBRAITH: Now, you've heard about the science of gliclazide. Let's check back with our patient Shirley. Shirley's been trying to keep her blood glucose under control for some time by focusing on eating better and exercising more. She's already been treated for her diabetes with one medicine called metformin, but unfortunately, her blood glucose has remained high. She finally decided, with her doctor, that it was time to start additional treatment. Shirley's doctor started her on gliclazide, 30 milligrammes daily. David told you the story behind the development of gliclazide, an interesting tale which started many years ago. Dan has explained how gliclazide works to increase insulin in the bloodstream and, therefore, lowers blood glucose.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 secondsAnd you now know from Ian that the effect of gliclazide can last for 24 hours due to the combination of its reasonably long half-life and a modified release formulation, so it only has to be taken once a day. The pharmacist will need to explain to Shirley that gliclazide can have some side effects. The most concerning side effect is blood sugar becoming too low. This is called hypoglycemia. If Shirley's blood sugar gets too low, she could become very unwell quite quickly. She could experience loss of coordination, slurred speech, confusion, and eventually, even loss of consciousness. The first signs of low blood glucose are weakness, trembling, shaking, sweating, and lightheadedness.

Skip to 1 minute and 42 secondsShirley really needs to know to immediately eat some sugar to raise her blood glucose level. This could be in the form of some jelly beans, sugar or honey, or some soft drink. There also glucose tablets and gel available. Even after consuming sugar, the blood glucose can fall again, so Shirley also needs to eat a meal or at least have some biscuits, fruit, or milk, to ensure her blood glucose stays high enough. Shirley's doctor will want to keep a close eye on her as she starts the gliclazide tablets and will do a number of blood tests to determine how well controlled her blood glucose is.

Skip to 2 minutes and 19 secondsThe doctor will also check that Shirley's diabetes is not causing other problems, such as kidney disease. Shirley needs to make sure she tells all of her health care professionals that she has diabetes and is taking gliclazide so they can monitor her appropriately.

Diabetes patient summary

Watch Kirstie explain the potential side effects of gliclazide usage, particularly the most concerning side effect of low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) in the body.

Find out more about living with diabetes type 2

Go to See also for a link to the healthtalk.org website featuring interviews with people living with diabetes type 2.


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This video is from the free online course:

The Science of Medicines

Monash University

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Introduction: the healthcare team
    Introduction: the healthcare team
    video

    Watch Kirstie and Lyn describe health care teams and how doctors and pharmacists work together. Kirstie also provides a brief overview of the course.

  • Diabetes: patient introduction
    Diabetes: patient introduction
    video

    Watch Kirstie introduce Shirley Park, a mildly overweight patient with Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately for Shirley, diet and exercise have not helped.

  •  Heart disease: patient introduction
    Heart disease: patient introduction
    video

    Watch Kirstie introduce Steve Park, an overweight 49-year-old with reflux and high blood pressure.

  • Pain patient introduction
    Pain patient introduction
    video

    Watch Kirstie introduces Ari, a gentleman with chronic back pain on multiple medications, including morphine tablets.

  • Smoking: patient introduction
    Smoking: patient introduction
    video

    Watch Kirstie introduce Tracey Wilson, a 28 years of age smoker who wants to quit.

  • Depression: patient introduction
    Depression: patient introduction
    video

    Watch Kirstie introduce Maria Tarantino, a 32 years of age mother of three, including a young baby who is suffering from a depressive disorder.

  • Depression pharmaceutics
    Depression pharmaceutics
    video

    Watch Ian combine medicine design and pharmaceutics to demonstrate how often fluoxetine needs to be taken.