Gliclazide is a second generation sulphonylurea oral hypoglycaemic agent used in the treatment of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). It improves defective insulin secretion and may reverse insulin resistance observed in patients with NIDDM. These actions are reflected in a reduction in blood glucose levels which is maintained during both short and long term administration, and is comparable with that achieved by other sulphonylurea agents. Gradually accumulating evidence suggests that gliclazide may be useful in patients with diabetic retinopathy, due to its haemobiological actions, and that addition of gliclazide to insulin therapy enables insulin dosage to be reduced. Thus, gliclazide is an effective agent for the treatment of the metabolic defects associated with NIDDM and may have the added advantage of potentially slowing the progression of diabetic retinopathy. These actions, together with its good general tolerability and low incidence of hypoglycaemia have allowed gliclazide to be well placed within the array of oral hypoglycaemic agents available for the control of NIDDM.
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