Prometrium (Progesterone Micronized) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Prometrium
Prometrium or progesterone is an oral medication used for causing menstrual periods in women who have not reached the age of menopause but are not getting their periods due to lack of the hormone in their body. This drug can also be used for preventing overgrowth of the uterus lining in post-menopausal women who are going through estrogen hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Sometimes, your doctor may advise you to buy Prometrium in order to ensure a safe pregnancy.
Side Effects for Prometrium
Nausea, headache, breast tenderness, bloating, changes in vaginal discharge, dizziness, blurred vision, drowsiness and mood swings are common side effects of the drug. Most of these symptoms diminish on their own, but if they don’t, you should call your doctor and seek help. If you are experiencing some serious side effects of the drug such as unusual vaginal bleeding, depression, frequent and painful urination, dark patches on the face or skin, yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark urine, unusual tiredness, and breast lumps, then stop taking the medicine immediately and talk to your doctor. Seek immediate medical help if you experience pain in the chest, jaw or left arm, weakness on one side of the body, bulging eyes, loss of vision, double vision, slurred speech, fainting, coughing up blood, calf pain or swelling, and have trouble breathing.
Some forms of Prometrium may contain peanut oil, and you should not use it if you are allergic to peanuts. You should also not take this medicine if you have a history of breast cancer, liver disease or if you have had a stroke, internal blood clots, or a heart attack in the previous year. The drug is given only for short periods of time like 6 to 12 days during your menstrual cycles, and so, you need to pay attention to your dosing schedule and never miss a dose. You should also not take Prometrium if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, are overweight, suffer from migraine, asthma, seizure, epilepsy, diabetes, or if you smoke regularly. Smoking and alcohol intake may worsen the side effects of the drug, and therefore, it would be better to quit these habits as long as you are on Prometrium treatment.
You can buy Prometrium in 100 and 200mg strengths. If you are using the medicine for prevention of endometrial hyperplasia, then you should take one Prometrium 200mg capsule for 12 days in a row within a 28-day cycle at bed time. However, if you are using it to treat secondary amenorrhea, then take Prometrium 400mg for 10 days at bed time. If you are experiencing problems in swallowing the capsules, then you should take it in a standing position with a glass of water.
Before taking Prometrium, you should tell your doctor about all the prescription and non-prescription drugs you are using at present, especially drugs that affect liver enzymes like Rifampin, azole antifungals like Itraconazole, anti-seizure medicines like Carbamazepine, Phenytoin, and Phenobarbital. As Prometrium can affect the results of some laboratory tests, you should inform the laboratory staff that you are using this medicine so that they can make the required changes.
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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.