Glucotrol XL (Glipizide ER) and/or alternatives
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General Information on Glucotrol XL
Diabetes patients are prescribed Glucotrol XL, a medicine that helps in controlling the sugar levels in the blood. Glipzide, which is the active chemical in the drug, helps the pancreas produce insulin. This medicine falls in the category of Sulfonylureas and is used in the treatment of Type II non-insulin dependent diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus. The medicine is combined with diet and exercise to treat the condition.
Glucotrol XL works by stimulating the body into releasing naturally produced insulin. The control of blood sugar levels within the body helps in preventing kidney damage and blindness, minimizes the risk of nerve problems, and helps in maintaining normal sexual function. Keeping diabetes under control also lessens the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Glucotrol XL Side Effects
Vomiting, nausea, appetite loss, constipations, diarrhea, gas, headache, and weight gain are some of the side effects that may arise from using Glucotrol XL. If the side effects are persistent, a doctor needs to be consulted. At times, empty tablet shells may be present in the stool of the patient, but it is harmless.
The possibilities of serious side effects are unlikely, but at times, a patient may experience serious side effects such as persistent fever, sore throat, stomach pain, yellow eyes and skin, excessive dark colored urine, swelling in the hands and feet, seizures, uncharacteristic bruising, and unusual mood swings.
Patients taking Glucotrol XL may suffer from hypoglycemia if the medication is not backed up by adequate calorie intake. The symptoms of hypoglycemia include blurred vision, tingling in the hands and feet, sudden hunger, drowsiness, weakness, fainting, rapid heartbeat, and shaking. The patient then immediately needs to eat something sweet to combat low blood sugar.
Serious allergic reactions to Glipzide are rare, but if swellings, rashes and other allergic reactions are noticed, you need to inform your doctor as soon as possible.
Glucotrol XL Precautions
Glipizide allergies are rare but not completely unknown. If you are allergic to Glipizide, you need to inform your doctor about it. Glucotrol XL may have other ingredients too which can cause allergies. This drug is not to be used if you have medical conditions such as diabetic ketoacidosis.
Any previous medical history related to liver disease, kidney problems, thyroid disorders, hormonal conditions, hypernatremia, and gastrointestinal problems need to be disclosed to your doctor. If you are suffering from fever or some kind of infection, the dosage needs to be changed. So, inform your doctor accordingly.
Use sun protection liberally since this medication makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight. Elderly people need to exercise caution while using Glucotrol XL since they are at a greater risk of getting hypoglycemia.
If you are pregnant or nursing, you need to inform the doctor before starting the medication.
Glucotrol XL Dosage
The medicine is available in three doses - Glucotrol XL 2.5mg, Glucotrol XL 5mg, and Glucotrol XL 10mg. The dosage is determined by the doctor based on your blood sugar levels. The medicine is to be taken once a day with breakfast. The tablet should be ingested whole and not crushed, cut or chewed.
Interactions of Glucotrol XL
Inform your doctor about all other drugs you are taking. Interaction with other medications may make you more prone to hypoglycemia or reduce the effectiveness of Glucotrol XL. Common medications that interact with it are Aspirin, Calcium channel blockers, birth control pills, decongestants, Niacin, thyroid drugs, other diabetes medications, Rifampin, Sulfonamides, and MAO inhibitors.
Before you buy Glucotrol XL, get the full list of medications that you should avoid while using this drug.
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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.