October 8, 2006

Not all Generic Metformin is The Same!

I've been taking Metformin ER for more than 3 years. When I got them at Stop & Shop's pharmacy, they always gave me big puffy white pills from one of two manufacturers. I noticed one brand seemed to cause a bit of digestive uproar the first day or two I tried it, but didn't notice anything significant in how they affected my blood sugar.

Well this past month I filled my prescription at Walgreens and they gave me a dark pink, dense pill from a manufacturer named Teva. They looked so different from the pills I'd been taking, that I went and looked them up online to make sure that they were, in fact, metformin ER. Based on the numbers on the pills, they checked out as being Metformin ER.

Within two days of starting the new pills, I started seeing dramatically lower blood sugar numbers. Suddenly I was in in the 80s after meals even when I didn't use any insulin (after a low carb breakfast and lunch). I cut back on my insulin at dinner to 2 units max and started seeing 80s and low 90s by 9 PM and fasting blood sugars from 80-89 the next morning every day even with hefty portions of carb at dinner.

When I called the pharmacy the pharmacist insisted that all the generic drugs had to perform the same to be approved, but when I went in, in person, another pharmacist told me that he had another patient who found one brand of regular metformin worked much better for him, too, though the pharmacist didn't say which brand.

To test out whether it wasn't something else causing the drop in my blood sugars, I cut back on the metformin, dropping back to one pill. Immediately my blood sugars went back up about 20 mg/dl. So it looks like it is because of the pink Metformin ER.

I take all 1500 mg at once, around 10:00 in the morning because if I take them at night I find it makes me have to wake up more to pee. My guess is that this particular generic formulation releases the medication more quickly so I'm getting more metformin in my system at once.

OTOH, I didn't see better numbers last year when I was prescribed 2500 mg of Met ER (an overdose, it turns out). That would make me wonder why a higher dose would have that effect. But I was taking that high dose back before I started insulin when my system was really burnt out from trying to normalize blood sugars with not enough insulin being secreted. After almost a year of supplementing with insulin daily perhaps my beta cells have perked up some.

Whatever it is, I'm asking for this stuff next month, too! If you've tried this pink stuff (750 mg Metformin ER) and experienced anything similar, let me hear from you. I'm intrigued!


Anonymous said...

I agree. All Generic Metformin is not the same. I have used (1) Metformin 500mg 2-4 tabs a day, and Actoplus Met, once daily. The latter was GREAT, but I was advised it is an overkill, and switched to option 1.
The pharmacist gave me Teva (or IVAX) Metformin and this was NASTY stuff. I was gassing all day. Then, only once, though, Rite Aid got me the Sandoz version and the gas was gone. My A1c though showed no change, hovering at 6.4, fasting sugars at 92 and triglycerides at 198.
Finally, the doc put me on Glucophage XR. This time I insisted on the brand name made by Bristol Myers Squibb. Absolute wonder - low sugars, A1c at 5.5, Triglyerides at 127, and fasting at 94.
This brand name costs me too much though. So asked if I could get the Sandoz version of the ER. But none of these pharmacies has it - Walgreens, Riteaid, CVS, Walmart, Costco, Savon@albertsons, Vons.
Anyone knows where I can get Sandoz or Watson's Metformin ER in the4 LA area?

Jenny said...

I've never seen the Sandoz version.

I'm showing my age, but when I grew up when people were asking where they could get Sandoz, it wasn't metformin.

vikki said...

As of today, Walgreens now has stopped serving Metformin ER 500 mg. from Teva and switched to the same from San Parma.
Not sure yet what differences if any in how it will work. But will keep my eyes on it. The new pills are substantially smaller white pills than the large Teva version.


minahsenget said...

hey thanx for updating about this metformin. im a researcher, a t2dm researcher n my focus of study is metformin. surely im gonna keep visiting this blog. thanx a lot

Allan said...

I have been getting the TEVA brand for the past 4 years and had to switch to my local Kroger Pharm when Walgreens stopped using them. Now the Kroger has stopped the TEVA brand and switching to Sun Pharm. Not sure if I want to switch. Local CVS still has the TEVA generic but not at the same price. Does anyone have any personal experience with the Sun Pharm brand of Metformin ER 500mg ? Thanks.


Jenny said...

The Sun Pharma 500 ER was the one that made me really sick. Rite Aid orders the Teva for me at a generic price (on my insurance) without any additional charge.

Unknown said...

Anyone have experience with AVKARE metformin ER? My pharmacy has switched to that and my blood sugars have jumped over fifty points! Can't remember the manufacturer used previously. You can be sure that not all generics are alike!

Jenny said...

Complain to the pharmacist at the pharmacy where you got that brand and ask for a different one. If that pharmacy won't get it for you, go to another. Walgreens has done this for me several times. In fact, I just went through this with my blood pressure medicine. They are switching to very cheap generics made in 3rd world countries that are crap.