Janumet (Sitagliptin/Metformin) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Janumet
Janumet (Metformin and Sitagliptin) is an oral diabetes medication. It is used to control blood sugar levels. Metformin helps in decreasing the production of glucose (sugar) in the liver and also helps in decreasing the absorption of glucose by the intestines. Sitagliptin helps in regulating insulin levels which your body produces after eating. The Janumet drug can be used for type 2 diabetes patients who do not use insulin injections on a daily basis. This medicine should be used along with a strict exercise and diet regimen. You should remember that Janumet is not used for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. It comes in the form of tablets and can be taken in 50mg Sitagliptin/500 mg Metformin strength initially which can be increased to 50 mg Sitagliptin/1,000 mg Metformin after consulting with your doctor.
Side Effects / Precautions for Janumet
Janumet should not be used for the treatment of Ketoacidosis. Further, you should refrain from using this drug if you have had pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in the past. Common side effects of generic Janumet are diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, gas, upset stomach, indigestion, weakness, headache, upper respiratory infection, sore throat and a stuffy or runny nose. If you are on this medication you may also experience swelling in the hands or legs. This can generally happen if you are taking Janumet along with Rosiglitazone (Avandia).
The FDA has categorised generic Janumet as category B drug for pregnancy. It is not expected to be harmful for the unborn child, however, you should tell your doctor about your pregnancy if you are taking this medicine.
The standard doses for Janumet therapy is 50 mg of Sitagliptin/500 mg of Metformin Hydrochloride daily twice for patients whose illness is not controlled by exercise and diet alone. Also, a recommended dose of 50 mg Sitagliptin/1000 mg of Metformin hydrochloride is administered daily twice for patients who do not show adequate glycemic control. The dosage for anti-hyperglycemic treatment is determined on the basis of the patient’s current treatment regimen. For patients on monotherapy of Metformin the starting dose of Janumet must provide Sitagliptin at 50 mg daily twice. For patients on monotherapy of Sitagliptin the starting dose is 50 mg Sitagliptin/500 mg Metformin Hydrochloride daily twice.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.