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Glimepiride Tablets




Glimepiride tablet is an oral blood-glucose-lowering drug of the sulfonylurea class.

Chemically, glimepiride is identified as 1-[[p-[2-(3-ethyl-4-methyl-2-oxo-3-pyrroline-1carboxamido) ethyl]phenyl]sulfonyl]-3-(trans-4-methylcyclohexyl)urea. The structural formula is:

Molecular Formula: C24H34N4O5S

Molecular Weight: 490.62

Glimepiride is practically insoluble in water.

Glimepiride is a white to yellowish-white, crystalline, odorless to practically odorless powder formulated into tablets of 1-mg, 2-mg, and 4-mg strengths for oral administration. Glimepiride tablets contain the active ingredient glimepiride and the following inactive ingredients: lactose (hydrous), sodium starch glycolate, povidone, microcrystalline cellulose, and magnesium stearate. In addition, glimepiride 1-mg tablets contain Ferric Oxide Red, glimepiride 2-mg tablets contain Ferric Oxide Yellow and FD&C Blue #2 Aluminum Lake, and glimepiride 4-mg tablets contain FD&C Blue #2 Aluminum Lake.


Glimepiride is indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

2.1 Important Limitations of Use

Glimepiride should not be used for the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus or diabetic ketoacidosis, as it would not be effective in these settings.


3.1 Recommended Dosing

Glimepiride should be administered with breakfast or the first main meal of the day.

The recommended starting dose of glimepiride is 1 mg or 2 mg once daily. Patients at increased risk for hypoglycemia (e.g., the elderly or patients with renal impairment) should be started on 1 mg once daily [see Warnings and Precautions and Use in Specific Populations].

After reaching a daily dose of 2 mg, further dose increases can be made in increments of 1 mg or 2 mg based upon the patient’s glycemic response. Uptitration should not occur more frequently than every 1-2 weeks. A conservative titration scheme is recommended for patients at increased risk for hypoglycemia [see Warnings and Precautions and Use in Specific Populations].

The maximum recommended dose is 8 mg once daily.

Patients being transferred to glimepiride from longer half-life sulfonylureas (e.g., chlorpropamide) may have overlapping drug effect for 1-2 weeks and should be appropriately monitored for hypoglycemia.


Glimepiride is contraindicated in patients with a history of a hypersensitivity reaction to:

• Glimepiride or any of the product’s ingredients [see Warnings and Precautions].

Sulfonamide derivatives: Patients who have developed an allergic reaction to sulfonamide derivatives may develop an allergic reaction to glimepiride. Do not use glimepiride in patients who have a history of an allergic reaction to sulfonamide derivatives.

Reported hypersensitivity reactions include cutaneous eruptions with or without pruritus as well as more serious reactions (e.g. anaphylaxis, angioedema, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, dyspnea) [see Warnings and Precautions and Adverse Reactions].


The primary mechanism of action of glimepiride in lowering blood glucose appears to be dependent on stimulating the release of insulin from functioning pancreatic beta cells. In addition, extrapancreatic effects may also play a role in the activity of sulfonylureas such as glimepiride. This is supported by both preclinical and clinical studies demonstrating that glimepiride administration can lead to increased sensitivity of peripheral tissues to insulin. These findings are consistent with the results of a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in which glimepiride therapy improved postprandial insulin/C-peptide responses and overall glycemic control without producing clinically meaningful increases in fasting insulin/C-peptide levels. However, as with other sulfonylureas, the mechanism by which glimepiride lowers blood glucose during long-term administration has not been clearly established.

Glimepiride is effective as initial drug therapy. In patients where monotherapy with glimepiride or metformin has not produced adequate glycemic control, the combination of glimepiride and metformin may have a synergistic effect, since both agents act to improve glucose tolerance by different primary mechanisms of action. This complementary effect has been observed with metformin and other sulfonylureas, in multiple studies.


6.1 Usage in Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category C

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of glimepiride in pregnant women. In animal studies there was no increase in congenital anomalies, but an increase in fetal deaths occurred in rats and rabbits at glimepiride doses 50 times (rats) and 0.1 times (rabbits) the maximum recommended human dose (based on body surface area). This fetotoxicity, observed only at doses inducing maternal hypoglycemia, is believed to be directly related to the pharmacologic (hypoglycemic) action of glimepiride and has been similarly noted with other sulfonylureas.

Glimepiride should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Because data suggest that abnormal blood glucose during pregnancy is associated with a higher incidence of congenital abnormalities, diabetes treatment during pregnancy should maintain blood glucose as close to normal as possible.

Nonteratogenic Effects: Prolonged severe hypoglycemia (4 to 10 days) has been reported in neonates born to mothers receiving a sulfonylurea at the time of delivery.

6.2 Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether glimepiride is excreted in human milk. During pre- and post-natal studies in rats, significant concentrations of glimepiride were present in breast milk and the serum of the pups. Offspring of rats exposed to high levels of glimepiride during pregnancy and lactation developed skeletal deformities consisting of shortening, thickening, and bending of the humerus during the postnatal period. These skeletal deformations were determined to be the result of nursing from mothers exposed to glimepiride. Based on these animal data and the potential for hypoglycemia in a nursing infant, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or discontinue glimepiride, taking into account the importance of glimepiride to the mother.

6.3 Pediatric Use

The pharmacokinetics, efficacy and safety of glimepiride have been evaluated in pediatric patients with type 2 diabetes as described below. Glimepiride is not recommended in pediatric patients because of its adverse effects on body weight and hypoglycemia.

The pharmacokinetics of a 1 mg single dose of glimepiride was evaluated in 30 patients with type 2 diabetes (male = 7; female = 23) between ages 10 and 17 years. The mean (± SD) AUC(0-last) (339±203 ng•hr/mL), Cmax (102±48 ng/mL) and t1/2 (3.1±1.7 hours) for glimepiride were comparable to historical data from adults (AUC(0-last) 315±96 ng•hr/mL, Cmax 103±34 ng/mL and t1/2 5.3±4.1 hours).

The safety and efficacy of glimepiride in pediatric patients was evaluated in a single-blind, 24-week trial that randomized 272 patients (8-17 years of age) with type 2 diabetes to glimepiride (n=135) or metformin (n=137). Both treatment-naïve patients (those treated with only diet and exercise for at least 2 weeks prior to randomization) and previously treated patients (those previously treated or currently treated with other oral antidiabetic medications for at least 3 months) were eligible to participate. Patients who were receiving oral antidiabetic agents at the time of study entry discontinued these medications before randomization without a washout period. Glimepiride was initiated at 1 mg, and then titrated up to 2, 4 or 8 mg (mean last dose 4 mg) through Week 12, targeting a self-monitored fasting fingerstick blood glucose < 126 mg/dL. Metformin was initiated at 500 mg twice daily and titrated at Week 12 up to 1000 mg twice daily (mean last dose 1365 mg).

After 24 weeks, the overall mean treatment difference in HbA1c between glimepiride and metformin was 0.2%, favoring metformin (95% confidence interval -0.3% to +0.6%).

Based on these results, the trial did not meet its primary objective of showing a similar reduction in HbA1c with glimepiride compared to metformin.

Table 1. Change from Baseline in HbA1C and Body Weight in Pediatric Patients Taking Glimepiride or Metformin

* Intent-to-treat population using last-observation-carried-forward for missing data (glimepiride, n=127; metformin, n=126)

+ adjusted for baseline HbA1c and Tanner Stage

** Difference is glimepiride – metformin with positive differences favoring metformin


The profile of adverse reactions in pediatric patients treated with glimepiride was similar to that observed in adults [see Adverse Reactions].

Hypoglycemic events documented by blood glucose values < 36 mg/dL were observed in 4% of pediatric patients treated with glimepiride and in 1% of pediatric patients treated with metformin. One patient in each treatment group experienced a severe hypoglycemic episode (severity was determined by the investigator based on observed signs and symptoms).

6.4 Geriatric Use

In clinical trials of glimepiride, 1053 of 3491 patients (30%) were >65 years of age. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these patients and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.

There were no significant differences in glimepiride pharmacokinetics between patients with type 2 diabetes ≤ 65 years (n=49) and those > 65 years (n=42).

Glimepiride is substantially excreted by the kidney. Elderly patients are more likely to have renal impairment. In addition, hypoglycemia may be difficult to recognize in the elderly [see Dosage and Administration and Warnings and Precautions]. Use caution when initiating glimepiride and increasing the dose of glimepiride in this patient population.

6.5 Renal Impairment

To minimize the risk of hypoglycemia, the recommended starting dose of glimepiride is 1 mg daily for all patients with type 2 diabetes and renal impairment [see Dosage and Administration and Warnings and Precautions].

A multiple-dose titration study was conducted in 16 patients with type 2 diabetes and renal impairment using doses ranging from 1 mg to 8 mg daily for 3 months. Baseline creatinine clearance ranged from 10-60 mL/min. The pharmacokinetics of glimepiride were evaluated in the multiple-dose titration study and the results were consistent with those observed in patients enrolled in a single-dose study. In both studies, the relative total clearance of glimepiride increased when kidney function was impaired. Both studies also demonstrated that the elimination of the two major metabolites was reduced in patients with renal impairment.


7.1 Hypoglycemia

All sulfonylureas, including glimepiride, can cause severe hypoglycemia [see Adverse Reactions]. The patient's ability to concentrate and react may be impaired as a result of hypoglycemia. These impairments may present a risk in situations where these abilities are especially important, such as driving or operating other machinery. Severe hypoglycemia can lead to unconsciousness or convulsions and may result in temporary or permanent impairment of brain function or death.

Patients must be educated to recognize and manage hypoglycemia. Use caution when initiating and increasing glimepiride doses in patients who may be predisposed to hypoglycemia (e.g., the elderly, patients with renal impairment, patients on other anti-diabetic medications). Debilitated or malnourished patients, and those with adrenal, pituitary, or hepatic impairment are particularly susceptible to the hypoglycemic action of glucose-lowering medications. Hypoglycemia is also more likely to occur when caloric intake is deficient, after severe or prolonged exercise, or when alcohol is ingested.

Early warning symptoms of hypoglycemia may be different or less pronounced in patients with autonomic neuropathy, the elderly, and in patients who are taking beta-adrenergic blocking medications or other sympatholytic agents. These situations may result in severe hypoglycemia before the patient is aware of the hypoglycemia.

7.2 Hypersensitivity Reactions

There have been postmarketing reports of hypersensitivity reactions in patients treated with glimepiride, including serious reactions such as anaphylaxis, angioedema, and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. If a hypersensitivity reaction is suspected, promptly discontinue glimepiride, assess for other potential causes for the reaction, and institute alternative treatment for diabetes.

7.3 Hemolytic Anemia

Sulfonylureas can cause hemolytic anemia in patients with glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. Because glimepiride is a sulfonylurea, use caution in patients with G6PD deficiency and consider the use of a non-sulfonylurea alternative.

There are also postmarketing reports of hemolytic anemia in patients receiving glimepiride who did not have known G6PD deficiency [see Adverse Reactions].

7.4 Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Mortality with Sulfonylureas

The administration of oral hypoglycemic drugs has been reported to be associated with increased cardiovascular mortality as compared to treatment with diet alone or diet plus insulin. This warning is based on the study conducted by the University Group Diabetes Program (UGDP), a long-term, prospective clinical trial designed to evaluate the effectiveness of glucose-lowering drugs in preventing or delaying vascular complications in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes. The study involved 823 patients who were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups

UGDP reported that patients treated for 5 to 8 years with diet plus a fixed dose of tolbutamide (1.5 grams per day) had a rate of cardiovascular mortality approximately 2-1/2 times that of patients treated with diet alone. A significant increase in total mortality was not observed, but the use of tolbutamide was discontinued based on the increase in cardiovascular mortality, thus limiting the opportunity for the study to show an increase in overall mortality. Despite controversy regarding the interpretation of these results, the findings of the UGDP study provide an adequate basis for this warning. The patient should be informed of the potential risks and advantages of glimepiride and of alternative modes of therapy.

Although only one drug in the sulfonylurea class (tolbutamide) was included in this study, it is prudent from a safety standpoint to consider that this warning may also apply to other oral hypoglycemic drugs in this class, in view of their close similarities in mode of action and chemical structure.

7.5 Macrovascular Outcomes

There have been no clinical studies establishing conclusive evidence of macrovascular risk reduction with glimepiride or any other anti-diabetic drug.


The following serious adverse reactions are discussed in more detail below and elsewhere in the labeling:

• Hypoglycemia [see Warnings and Precautions]

• Hemolytic anemia [see Warnings and Precautions]

In clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions with glimepiride were hypoglycemia, dizziness, asthenia, headache, and nausea.

8.1 Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.


Approximately 2,800 patients with type 2 diabetes have been treated with glimepiride in the controlled clinical trials. In these trials, approximately 1,700 patients were treated with glimepiride for at least 1 year.

Table 2 summarizes adverse events, other than hypoglycemia, that were reported in 11 pooled placebo-controlled trials, whether or not considered to be possibly or probably related to study medication. Treatment duration ranged from 13 weeks to 12 months. Terms that are reported represent those that occurred at an incidence of ≥5% among glimepiride-treated patients and more commonly than in patients who received placebo.

Table 2. Eleven Pooled Placebo-Controlled Trials ranging from 13 weeks to 12 months: Adverse Events (Excluding Hypoglycemia) Occurring in ≥5% of Glimepiride-treated Patients and at a Greater Incidence than with Placebo*

* Glimepiride doses ranged from 1-16 mg administered daily

† Insufficient information to determine whether any of the accidental injury events were associated with hypoglycemia


Hypoglycemia: In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled monotherapy trial of 14 weeks duration, patients already on sulfonylurea therapy underwent a 3-week washout period then were randomized to glimepiride 1 mg, 4 mg, 8 mg or placebo. Patients randomized to glimepiride 4 mg or 8 mg underwent forced-titration from an initial dose of 1 mg to these final doses, as tolerated. The overall incidence of possible hypoglycemia (defined by the presence of at least one symptom that the investigator believed might be related to hypoglycemia; a concurrent glucose measurement was not required) was 4% for glimepiride 1 mg, 17% for glimepiride 4 mg, 16% for glimepiride 8 mg and 0% for placebo. All of these events were self-treated.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled monotherapy trial of 22 weeks duration, patients received a starting dose of either 1 mg glimepiride or placebo daily. The dose of glimepiride was titrated to a target fasting plasma glucose of 90-150 mg/dL. Final daily doses of glimepiride were 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 or 8 mg. The overall incidence of possible hypoglycemia (as defined above for the 14-week trial) for glimepiride vs. placebo was 19.7% vs. 3.2%. All of these events were self-treated.

Weight gain: Glimepiride, like all sulfonylureas, can cause weight gain.

Allergic Reactions: In clinical trials, allergic reactions, such as pruritus, erythema, urticaria, and morbilliform or maculopapular eruptions, occurred in less than 1% of glimepiride- treated patients. These may resolve despite continued treatment with glimepiride. There are postmarketing reports of more serious allergic reactions (e.g., dyspnea, hypotension, shock) [see Warnings and Precautions].

Laboratory Tests:

Elevated Serum Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT): In 11 pooled placebo-controlled trials of glimepiride, 1.9% of glimepiride-treated patients and 0.8% of placebo-treated patients developed serum ALT greater than 2 times the upper limit of the reference range.

8.2 Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of glimepiride. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

• Serious hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, angioedema, and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome [see Warnings and Precautions]

• Hemolytic anemia in patients with and without G6PD deficiency [see Warnings and Precautions]

• Impairment of liver function (e.g. with cholestasis and jaundice), as well as hepatitis, which may progress to liver failure.

• Porphyria cutanea tarda, photosensitivity reactions and allergic vasculitis

• Leukopenia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia, aplastic anemia, and pancytopenia

• Hepatic porphyria reactions and disulfiram-like reactions

• Hyponatremia and syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH), most often in patients who are on other medications or who have medical conditions known to cause hyponatremia or increase release of antidiuretic hormone


Overdosage of sulfonylureas, including glimepiride, can produce hypoglycemia. Mild hypoglycemic symptoms without loss of consciousness or neurologic findings should be treated aggressively with oral glucose and adjustments in drug dosage and/or meal patterns. Close monitoring should continue until the physician is assured that the patient is out of danger. Severe hypoglycemic reactions with coma, seizure, or other neurological impairment occur infrequently, but constitute medical emergencies requiring immediate hospitalization. If hypoglycemic coma is diagnosed or suspected, the patient should be given a rapid intravenous injection of concentrated (50%) glucose solution. This should be followed by a continuous infusion of a more dilute (10%) glucose solution at a rate that will maintain the blood glucose at a level above 100 mg/dL. Patients should be closely monitored for a minimum of 24 to 48 hours, because hypoglycemia may recur after apparent clinical recovery.


10.1 Drugs Affecting Glucose Metabolism

A number of medications affect glucose metabolism and may require glimepiride dose adjustment and particularly close monitoring for hypoglycemia or worsening glycemic control.

The following are examples of medications that may increase the glucose-lowering effect of sulfonylureas including glimepiride, increasing the susceptibility to and/or intensity of hypoglycemia: oral anti-diabetic medications, pramlintide acetate, insulin, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, H2 receptor antagonists, fibrates, propoxyphene, pentoxifylline, somatostatin analogs, anabolic steroids and androgens, cyclophosphamide, phenyramidol, guanethidine, fluconazole, sulfinpyrazone, tetracyclines, clarithromycin, disopyramide, quinolones, and those drugs that are highly protein-bound, such as fluoxetine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, salicylates, sulfonamides, chloramphenicol, coumarins, probenecid and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. When these medications are administered to a patient receiving glimepiride, monitor the patient closely for hypoglycemia. When these medications are withdrawn from a patient receiving glimepiride, monitor the patient closely for worsening glycemic control.

The following are examples of medications that may reduce the glucose-lowering effect of sulfonylureas including glimepiride, leading to worsening glycemic control: danazol, glucagon, somatropin, protease inhibitors, atypical antipsychotic medications (e.g., olanzapine and clozapine), barbiturates, diazoxide, laxatives, rifampin, thiazides and other diuretics, corticosteroids, phenothiazines, thyroid hormones, estrogens, oral contraceptives, phenytoin, nicotinic acid, sympathomimetics (e.g., epinephrine, albuterol, terbutaline), and isoniazid. When these medications are administered to a patient receiving glimepiride, monitor the patient closely for worsening glycemic control. When these medications are withdrawn from a patient receiving glimepiride, monitor the patient closely for hypoglycemia.

Beta-blockers, clonidine, and reserpine may lead to either potentiation or weakening of glimepiride’s glucose-lowering effect.

Both acute and chronic alcohol intake may potentiate or weaken the glucose-lowering action of glimepiride in an unpredictable fashion.

The signs of hypoglycemia may be reduced or absent in patients taking sympatholytic drugs such as beta-blockers, clonidine, guanethidine, and reserpine.

10.2 Miconazole

A potential interaction between oral miconazole and sulfonylureas leading to severe hypoglycemia has been reported. Whether this interaction also occurs with other dosage forms of miconazole is not known.

10.3 Cytochrome P450 2C9 Interactions

There may be an interaction between glimepiride and inhibitors (e.g., fluconazole) and inducers (e.g., rifampin) of cytochrome P450 2C9. Fluconazole may inhibit the metabolism of glimepiride, causing increased plasma concentrations of glimepiride which may lead to hypoglycemia. Rifampin may induce the metabolism of glimepiride, causing decreased plasma concentrations of glimepiride which may lead to worsening glycemic control.



After oral administration, glimepiride is completely (100%) absorbed from the GI tract. Studies with single oral doses in normal subjects and with multiple oral doses in patients with Type 2 diabetes have shown significant absorption of glimepiride within 1 hour after administration and peak drug levels (Cmax) at 2 to 3 hours. When glimepiride was given with meals, the mean Tmax (time to reach Cmax) was slightly increased (12%) and the mean Cmax and AUC (area under the curve) were slightly decreased (8% and 9%, respectively).


After intravenous (IV) dosing in normal subjects, the volume of distribution (Vd) was 8.8 L (113 mL/kg), and the total body clearance (CL) was 47.8 mL/min. Protein binding was greater than 99.5%.


Glimepiride is completely metabolized by oxidative biotransformation after either an IV or oral dose. The major metabolites are the cyclohexyl hydroxy methyl derivative (M1) and the carboxyl derivative (M2). Cytochrome P450 2C9 has been shown to be involved in the biotransformation of glimepiride to M1. M1 is further metabolized to M2 by one or several cytosolic enzymes. M1, but not M2, possesses about 1/3 of the pharmacological activity as compared to its parent in an animal model; however, whether the glucose-lowering effect of M1 is clinically meaningful is not clear.


When 14C-glimepiride was given orally, approximately 60% of the total radioactivity was recovered in the urine in 7 days and M1 (predominant) and M2 accounted for 80-90% of that recovered in the urine. Approximately 40% of the total radioactivity was recovered in feces and M1 and M2 (predominant) accounted for about 70% of that recovered in feces. No parent drug was recovered from urine or feces. After IV dosing in patients, no significant biliary excretion of glimepiride or its M1 metabolite has been observed.

Special Populations

Geriatric: There were no significant differences in glimepiride pharmacokinetics.

Pediatric: Glimepiride pharmacokinetics were comparable to those previously reported in adults.

Gender: There were no differences between males and females in the pharmacokinetics of glimepiride.

Race: No pharmacokinetic studies to assess the effects of race have been performed, but in placebo-controlled studies of glimepiride (glimepiride tablets) in patients with Type 2 diabetes, the antihyperglycemic effect was comparable in whites (n = 536), blacks (n = 63), and Hispanics (n = 63).

Renal Insufficiency: The results showed that glimepiride serum levels decreased as renal function decreased. However, M1 and M2 serum levels (mean AUC values) increased 2.3 and 8.6 times from Group I to Group III. The apparent terminal half-life (T½) for glimepiride did not change, while the half-lives for M1 and M2 increased as renal function decreased. Mean urinary excretion of M1 plus M2 as percent of dose, however, decreased (44.4%, 21.9%, and 9.3% for Groups I to III).

Hepatic Insufficiency: No studies were performed in patients with hepatic insufficiency.


1) How Available:

a) Brand name: AMARYL, by sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC.

b) Generic drugs: GLIMEPIRIDE, by various manufacturers.

2) How Supplied:

Glimepiride tablets USP (by TEVA PHARM) are available in the following strengths and package sizes:

1 mg (mottled pink, round tablet, bisected on both sides. One side of the tablet debossed with “9” on one side of score and “3” on the other. The other side of the tablet debossed with “72” on one side of score and “54” on the other.) Bottles of 100.

2 mg (mottled green, round tablet, bisected on both sides. One side of the tablet debossed with “9” on one side of score and “3” on the other. The other side of the tablet debossed with “72” on one side of score and “55” on the other.) Bottles of 100.

4 mg (mottled light blue, round tablet, bisected on both sides. One side of the tablet debossed with “9” on one side of score and “3” on the other. The other side of the tablet debossed with “72” on one side of score and “56” on the other.) Bottles of 100 and 250.

3) Storage:

Store at 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F) [See USP Controlled Room Temperature].

Dispense in a tight, light-resistant container as defined in the USP, with a child-resistant closure (as required).

Rx only

Rev 01/12