While diabetic cats require daily treatment, a diagnosis of feline diabetes mellitus isn't the end of the world. The disease is manageable, and part of that management might include glipizide, marketed under the name Glucotrol. Given by mouth, Glucotrol helps increase the pancreas' release of insulin.
Manufactured by Pfizer, this drug helps the blood sugar levels of diabetic cats return to normal. It's not a cure for the disease, but helps regulate Kitty and alleviate symptoms. If Kitty responds well to Glucotrol pills, she might not need daily insulin injections. It can only be given to cats whose pancreases are still able to produce insulin. If your vet recommends Glucotrol, be sure to tell him about any other supplements or drugs you're giving Kitty.
As is often the case with insulin injections, you must give your cat Glucotrol pills twice daily, at approximately the same time each day. Your vet will monitor Kitty's blood sugar levels carefully for the first month to see how she is adjusting. In addition to the medication, Kitty must eat a low-carbohydrate diet. Your vet will recommend suitable food, or may have some available for sale. Although some cats receiving Glucotrol may eventually require insulin injections, in other cats the medication and diet change is sufficient for controlling diabetes.
Vets won't prescribe Glucotrol for pregnant or nursing cats, or those suffering from liver or kidney disease. Cats already known to be resistant to insulin therapy shouldn't receive the drug. It also shouldn't be used in cats experiencing severe diabetic reactions, including diabetic coma.
It's important to watch Kitty carefully for any side effects. Some cats receiving Glucotrol stop eating -- in diabetic cats, that's a veterinary red-alert. Also call your vet if Kitty throws up. Cats may suffer from either constipation or diarrhea. Some cats experience a drop in blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. That's another reason your vet constantly monitors Kitty. If Kitty's blood sugar drops, she might appear anxious or start trembling. Some cats are allergic to the medication, so if Kitty's mouth or tongue swells up or she has trouble breathing, call the vet.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.