A. A couple of factors determine the optimal timing of medicine doses. Some drugs, such as rapid-acting insulin, are usually taken just before meals, and others must be taken on an empty stomach or with food. The way a drug works in the body, as well as the time it takes to start working and the duration of its action, may also determine the best time to take a medicine. Glipizide begins working in approximately 30 minutes to an hour. Since this drug increases insulin secretion, it is recommended that you take it before meals to reduce the risk of hypoglycemic episodes. If you take it only once a day, it’s best to do so prior to the largest meal of the day, or with breakfast. Saxagliptin starts working within hours and only achieves peak concentrations in the body after several hours. Saxagliptin, and other agents in the dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor class, prevent the breakdown of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide (GLP) in response to the extra glucose in your blood after you eat, which increases the body’s insulin production. Although concentrations of GLP and other similar hormones are higher after eating, they are also released throughout the day under normal circumstances. So saxagliptin and other DPP-4 inhibitors can be taken without regard to meals.

This seems hard to do, but really it’s not if you know one secret: Replace snacking with something far more satisfying — fat. That’s right, the government is wrong to recommend a low fat diet. Fat is what makes you feel full until your next meal. Take away the fat, take away the full. Don’t go to an extreme, but do lean strongly toward a high-fat low-carb diet.

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