Actoplus Met (Pioglitazone Hydrochloride/Metformin Hydrochloride) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Actoplus Met
Actoplus Met is a combination of two medicines used for controlling high blood sugar levels in people suffering from Type 2 diabetes. This eventually helps in preventing other complications like kidney damage, nerve problems, blindness, sexual dysfunction, and loss of the limbs. The medicine is a combination of metformin hydrochloride and pioglitazone hydrochloride; the latter belongs to the category of drugs termed as glitazones or thiazolidinediones, which help your body respond properly to naturally produced insulin. Metformin also reduces the amount of sugar that is produced by the liver and absorbed by the intestines and stomach. You can buy Actoplus Met in the form of oral tablets, but do note that this drug cannot be used for treating Type 1 diabetes or by people who are already taking insulin injections regularly.
Side Effects for Actoplus Met
Some common side effects that you may experience after using Actoplus Met are stomach upset, muscle pain, tooth problems, metallic taste in the mouth, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, sore throat, weight gain, and weakness. Pioglitazone can sometimes lead to liver disease, for which you have to be cautious about symptoms like yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, and persistent nausea or vomiting. Actoplus Met can also cause congestive heart failure, which can be identified by unusual tiredness, trouble breathing, sudden weight gain, and swelling of the hands or feet. Metformin can also cause a fatal condition known as lactic acidosis. You should watch out for symptoms like difficult or fast breathing, severe drowsiness, cold or bluish skin, unusual tiredness, stomach pain, diarrhea, chills, and muscle pain. You should also inform your doctor if you suffer from blurred vision or if you have a bone fracture.
Lactic acidosis, a side effect of Actoplus Met, is more common in patients who are already suffering from a condition like liver or kidney disease, serious infection, congestive heart failure, heart attack, or stroke. You should avoid alcohol during Actoplus Met treatment and drink lots of fluids in order to prevent dehydration, which may worsen the side effects of the drug. This drug does not cause low blood sugar, but the same can occur if you are using it with other diabetes medicines like insulin or sulfonylurea. If you are to undergo a CT scan or X-ray and if a dye is going to be injected in your veins, your doctor may advise you to stop using Actoplus Met temporarily. So, before going for such a test, you should inform your doctor or laboratory personnel that you are taking Actoplus Met, so that he/they can take the necessary precautions.
Actoplus Met Dosage
You will initially be advised to take pioglitazone 15 to 30mg and Metformin 850 to 1000 mg every day. The medicine has to be taken along with food, and your doctor can increase the dose depending on how you respond to the treatment. However, the daily dose should not exceed pioglitazone 45mg and metformin 2550mg per day.
Your doctor will not recommend you to buy Actoplus Met if you are already taking NSAIDs, seizure medicines, diuretics, steroids, blood pressure or heart medicines, phenothiazines, thyroid medicines, birth control pills, diet pills, and drugs for treating asthma, allergies, and cold.
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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.