Diabetes and Ramadan: an update on use of glycemic therapies during fasting

Ann Saudi Med. Jul-Aug 2011;31(4):402-6. doi: 10.4103/0256-4947.81802.


The fasting of Ramadan is observed by a large proportion of Muslims with diabetes. Recommendations for the management of diabetes during Ramadan were last published in 2005 by the American Diabetes Association. Several studies in this field have since been published, some addressing the use of new pharmacological agents in managing diabetes during Ramadan. The incritin memetics are potentially safe during Ramadan; the DPP4 inhibitors vildagliptin and sitagliptin provide an effective and safe therapeutic option, administered either alone or in combination with metformin or sulfonylureas. There are no published studies on the use of GLP-1 receptor agonists during Ramadan. Among the sulfonylureas, gliclazide MR (modified release) and glimepride can be safely used during Ramadan, but glibenclamide should be avoided due to the associated risk of hypoglycemia. In selected patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the long-acting insulin analogues glargine and detemir, as well as the premixed insulin analogues, can be used with minimal risk of metabolic derangement or hypoglycemia; the risk is higher in type 1 diabetes. Insulin pumps can potentially empower patients with diabetes and enable safe fasting during the month of Ramadan. Further clinical trials are needed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of new antidiabetic agents and new diabetes-related technologies during Ramadan.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Fasting*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / chemically induced
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / adverse effects
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Insulin Infusion Systems
  • Islam*


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin