Currently this oral glycemic category has one drug listed; it is: Glucophage. This is a popular drug manufactured by Bristol Meyers Squibb Company. Its active agent is "Metaformin". It is packaged in small white tablets containing 500mg and 850 mg dosages. It acts, in ways that were not clear in the PDR (Physicians Desk Reference), to lower blood glucose levels by three mechanisms. They are: it decreases hepatic glucose secretion, it decreases intestinal absorption of glucose and it increases peripheral uptake of glucose. Its main positive claims seem to be that it does not stimulate insulin production from the pancreas, it does not seem to be metabolized by the liver and it does not cause hypoglycemia. However, the PDR states that there were no studies made on people with hepatic (liver) dysfunction. Excretion is by the kidneys; it is contra-indicated for people with kidney disease. This drug is prescribed for Type II diabetes.
Side effects include: a small percentage risk of possible lactic acidosis, caused by metaformin accumulation in the system; this is fatal to 50% of those who experience it, however. The UGDP study (a study of oral hypoglycemic agents by the "University Group Diabetes Program"), which was referenced in the PDR, found increased cardiovascular mortality with this product. It often removes vitamin B12 from the system. Other side effects include Ketoacidosis, Hyperventilation, Myalgia, Malaise, unusual Somnolence, Diarrhea, Nausea, Vomiting, Bloating, Flatulence and Anorexia.
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