Glucophage XR (Metformin Hydrochloride ER) and/or alternatives
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General Information on Glucophage XR
Glucophage XR is an oral drug used for the management of blood sugar levels in the body and is prescribed to Type 2 diabetes patients. It belongs to the category of drugs known as anti-hyperglycemic drugs. The molecule in the drug Glucophage is metformin hydrochloride. XR stands for extended release, and it helps in reducing the frequency of dosage of a medicine. Glucophage XR, when used alongside a proper nutrition and fitness program, helps in controlling diabetes as well as preventing kidney damage, limb loss, blindness, and other problems associated with diabetes.
Glucophage XR Side Effects
Metformin hydrochloride is a widely used and well-tolerated drug. However, some patients may experience certain side effects while using this drug. Many of these side effects are digestive in nature and include diarrhea, vomiting or nausea, indigestion, discomfort in the abdominal region, and flatulence. A few patients may experience other side effects such as headache, low blood sugar, a metallic taste in the mouth, rashes, blurry vision, flushing, dizziness, sweating, palpitation and symptoms similar to flu. You must inform your doctor about the side effects, after which he/she will then change the dosage. In case you experience lactic acidosis, you must stop taking Glucophage XR immediately.
Glucophage XR Precautions
Before you buy Glucophage XR and start taking it, you must inform your doctor about any allergies you may have. You must also discuss your complete medical background with your doctor and inform him/her about any kind of problems associated with the blood, kidney, liver and breathing. If you plan to undergo a surgery, then you must inform your doctor about the drugs that you are currently using. You must reduce your alcohol consumption along with this drug as it increases the probability of developing lactic acidosis. In case you suffer from prolonged side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting, you must immediately contact your doctor. If you suffer from blurry vision while using Glucophage XR, you must avoid driving a vehicle and inform your doctor.
Glucophage XR Dosage and Administration
The medicine is supplied in a tablet form and comes in two strengths - Glucophage XR 500mg and Glucophage XR 750 mg. While the 500mg tablets are off-white in color, the 750 mg tablets are pale red in color. You must ensure that you buy Glucophage XR from an authentic source. This medicine does not require any fixed regimen. It is used based on its efficacy in controlling blood sugar levels and its tolerance by the patient. The drug should be started gradually and the dosage must be escalated slowly. This not only helps in achieving the optimum control of sugar levels, but also helps in minimizing the side effects. Glucophage XR is usually prescribed once daily to be taken with the evening meal.
Glucophage XR Interactions
Metformin hydrochloride has the potential of having drug interactions with many different types of drugs. Therefore, it is always recommended that your doctor knows about all prescribed and over the counter drugs that you use. The drugs that can produce drug interactions with Glucophage XR include decongestants such as pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, calcium channel blockers, corticosteroids, thyroid medications, oral contraceptives, and diuretics. The drug interactions may either reduce the efficacy of the medicines or may have other side effects. This list is by no means complete, and so, you must always consult your doctor before taking Glucophage XR
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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.