Renagel (Sevelamer Hydrochloride) and/or alternatives
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General Information on Renagel
Renagel is a Sevelamer containing medicine that binds phosphate. People suffering from hypocalcemia and chronic kidney problems are advised to buy Renagel to treat their condition. Kidney disorder patients undergoing dialysis are prescribed this medicine to balance the phosphate levels in their blood. Maintaining low phosphate levels in the blood keeps the bones healthy and prevents unwanted minerals from accumulating within your body. Low phosphate levels lower the risk of heart problems and strokes by withholding the phosphate from being absorbed into the body.
Side Effects of Renagel
Diarrhea, upset stomach, nausea, headache, vomiting, bloating, constipation and cough are some of the side effects of using Renagel. While mild side effects may be bearable, persistent discomfort should be reported to the doctor as soon as possible. These, however, are mild side effects that may or may not manifest in most patients.
Severe side effects are rare and include dialysis site access problems, severe constipation, abdominal swelling accompanied by pain, chest pain, swelling in the legs and breathing trouble. Severe side effects most likely occur due to allergic reactions to Sevelamer in the medicine. Allergies can often be identified by accompanying itching and swelling. Any reaction requires immediate medical attention and the patient needs to get in touch with his/her doctor to counteract the side effects.
Precautions to be followed while using Renagel
Patients with gastrointestinal disorders should use medicines containing Sevelamer with caution. Also, those suffering from swallowing disorders, severe GI motility problems and dysphagia should also use this medication only after it has been cleared by a doctor. Renagel is to be avoided by those affected by hypophosphatemia or low blood phosphate, intestinal blockages, and are suffering from allergic reactions due to Sevelamer. In case this medication is absolutely necessary, a doctor will prescribe the safe dosage and counteractive medicine.
When you buy Renagel, keep in mind that it is an oral medication which should usually be taken thrice a day with meals. Alternatively, buy Renagel in doses as prescribed by your doctor. A powder form of Renagel is available, and it needs to be mixed with water before drinking. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for the amount of water to be mixed.
The tablets are available in two strengths: Renagel 400mg tablets are packed in bottles of 360 tablets, whereas Renagel 800mg comes as 180 tablets in a single bottle. The tablets should be swallowed whole and not crushed or chewed. Use the dosage as prescribed and do not alter the medication without consulting your doctor.
Doctors will ask for your medical history before they prescribe Renagel. Your doctor and pharmacist may already be monitoring any possible drug interactions, but it is still advisable to be aware of which compounds may interact with Renagel use. Ciprofloxacin and Mycophenolate get affected by regular Renagel use. Iron absorption may also be hampered.
Direct interference with other medications is not usual for Renagel, but it is possible that the Sevelamer can bind with some chemicals causing them to be passed out of the body without being absorbed. Therefore, any other medication should be taken at a gap of thirty minutes while using Renagel.
Medications have different effects on different people. Therefore, it is best to get in touch with your doctor for detailed explanations regarding your particular condition and to not buy Renagel on your own.
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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.