Metformin Manufacturer Information

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Given that most people take a generic form of Glucophage because of costs, combined with Paige’s bad experience with one type, I decided to add to her excellent research (thank you, Paige, with my apology for not having credited you properly!) and create a free-standing Metformin Thread.

Here’s what Paige came up with after searching the net for anecdotal information on several of the Metformin generics. Please remember that your experience may differ.

Zydus: Works
Heritage: Not a lot of data (there is now; see below)
Amneal: Works
Sandoz: Works (not for me, much; see below for why)
Teva: Does not work
Mylan: Does not work

The actual medication and the amount of it, metformin hydrochloride, is the same for brand name and generics. That’s required by law. The difference between performance then, are the fillers used to bind the medication into a pill, as well as any coatings. People can be so affected by the particular fillers used, that they may not be able to absorb much of the medication. This is apparently what happened when Armour ‘reformulated’ two years ago. That reformulation contained new fillers, and non-absorption complaints followed in massive numbers a month or so later.

Fillers matter. In fact, some of them, as you’ll see below, might kill you. Caveat Emptor has never been so important as it is here.

I went hunting for filler information from every company I could find. Walmart “Mail Order” (as opposed to Walmart stores, whose warehouses — different than the mail order warehouses — currently use Sandoz) now uses Heritage, though that could change at any time. Walmart, like most chains, goes with the best price, not the best product. Maybe that doesn’t matter for a toy pail and shovel, but as you’ll soon learn it sure as hell matters for drugs. The mail order pharmacist gave me their number when I couldn’t find the filler information on the Heritage website. If you’re ever in doubt about a pill, call the manufacturer and ask for the Compliance Department. They are required by law to give you that information.

Turns out I needed it. Last year Walmart stores and mail order used Zydus, which worked wonderfully. A month or so ago I got my prescription renewed at the store and I haven’t done as well. When I looked at the label after Lisa’s research, I discovered it was Sandoz, not Zydus, as I had incorrectly assumed. One glance at the fillers will tell you why: it’s loaded with stuff, and one ingredient in particular is very bad indeed.

Once I realized this, and saw that Glucophage and Zydus have very few fillers, I knew I wanted to take a pill with as few fillers as possible. Heritage meets the criteria, and I’ve ordered a refill from Walmart’s mail order, which charges the same $10 for a 90-day supply as a Walmart store, and throws in free to-your-door shipping as well. If it works as well as Zydus, the store pharmacy manager has agreed to give me a credit for my left-over Sandoz (which I’ll never take again; you’ll understand why below), which he’ll destroy.

With that, on to the filler information. First, let’s look at the brand name itself. Glucophage:

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company:
GLUCOPHAGE tablets contain 500 mg, 850 mg, or 1000 mg of metformin hydrochloride. Each tablet contains the inactive ingredients: povidone and magnesium stearate. [Note: just TWO fillers!] In addition, the coating for the 500 mg and 850 mg tablets contains hypromellose and the coating for the 1000 mg tablet contains hypromellose and polyethylene glycol.

Actavis:
Metformin hydrochloride tablets contain 500 mg, 850 mg and 1000 mg of metformin hydrochloride. In addition, each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: crospovidone, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, maltodextrin, polyethylene glycol, povidone, stearic acid.

Apotex Generic Brand:
Each Metformin Hydrochloride Tablet, for oral administration, contains 500 mg, 850 mg or 1000 mg of metformin hydrochloride. In addition, each film-coated tablet also contains the following inactive ingredients: hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, methylcellulose, polyethylene glycol and titanium dioxide.

[Note: Danger, Will Robinson. Danger! Danger! What is Titanium Dioxide? A nanoparticle powder made of fine titanium bits. That's right, a metal. But wait -- it gets worse. From Natural News: "This is an ingredient for which no long-term safety testing on humans has ever been conducted. In fact, according to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, titanium dioxide may be a human carcinogen. As explained on the CCOHS website: (http://www.ccohs.ca/headlines/text186.html)

Titanium dioxide has recently been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen ''possibly carcinogen to humans''... This evidence showed that high concentrations of pigment-grade (powdered) and ultrafine titanium dioxide dust caused respiratory tract cancer in rats exposed by inhalation and intratracheal instillation."

And: "Titanium dioxide is considered extremely unsafe by Vitacost, which banned the ingredient from its in-house supplements label (NSI). Soon, products from Vitacost may even be labeled with a "titanium dioxide free" claim to better educate consumers."

Oh, joy.]

Genpharm Inc:
Metformin hydrochloride tablets contain 500 mg, 850 mg, and 1000 mg of metformin hydrochloride. In addition, each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: povidone and magnesium stearate. The coating for the 500 mg, 850 mg and 1000 mg tablets contains hydroxypropyl methylcellulose and polyethylene glycol. [Note: This is clearly a true Glucophage clone and I would take it if I could find it.]

Glenmark Generics Inc., USA:
Metformin hydrochloride tablets USP, for oral administration, contains 500 mg, 850 mg, or 1000 mg of metformin hydrochloride USP. Each tablet contains the inactive ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate and povidone. In addition, the coating for the 500 mg, 850 mg and 1000 mg tablets contains Opadry YS-1R-7006 Clear. The components of Opadry YS-1R-7006 Clear are hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, polyethylene glycol 400 and polyethylene glycol 6000.

Heritage Pharmaceuticals:
Metformin hydrochloride tablets contain 500 mg or 850 mg or 1000 mg of metformin hydrochloride. Each tablet contains the inactive ingredients: hypromellose, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, and binders povidone k30 & k90, and pregelatinized starch. [Note: This is what Walmart mail order is using, and is very close to Glucophage.]

Mutual Pharmaceutical Company:
Metformin hydrochloride tablets contain 500 mg, 850 mg, and 1000 mg of metformin hydrochloride. Each tablet contains the inactive ingredients carnauba wax, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, polydextrose, polyethylene glycol, povidone, titanium dioxide and triacetin.

Sandoz:
Each metformin hydrochloride tablet contains 500 mg, 850 mg or 1000 mg metformin hydrochloride. Each tablet contains the inactive ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, povidone, sodium starch glycolate, and titanium dioxide.

TEVA Generic Brand:
Metformin Hydrocholoride tablets USP contain 500 mg, 850 mg, or 1000 mg of metformin hydrochloride. In addition, each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, povidone and titanium dioxide.

Watson:
Metformin hydrochloride tablets contain 500 mg, 850 mg or 1000 mg of metformin hydrochloride. Each tablet contains the inactive ingredients magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose and povidone. In addition, the coating for each tablet contains hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, red iron oxide, titanium dioxide, triacetin, vanillin and yellow iron oxide.

Zydus Pharmaceuticals:
Metformin hydrochloride tablets contain 500 mg or 850 mg or 1000 mg of metformin hydrochloride. Each tablet contains the inactive ingredients: hypromellose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol and povidone.

This is one of the most depressing threads I’ve ever written. The good news is, I have a few more threads coming up in the next week or two which are even more depressing. I love a challenge. :D

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6 Responses to Metformin Manufacturer Information

  1. Ariel says:

    SugarFree — Fantastic post! I just checked my metformin: the manufacturer is Aurobindo, and they use povidone, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, and something called macrogol, which is polyethylene glycol. I wanted to include this for anyone else taking the Aurobindo version. They work great for me.

    Ariel

  2. skinnybreach says:

    Depressing or not, truth be told!

    Aline

  3. Paige says:

    You are awesome! Thanks for doing the dirty work!

    – Paige

  4. Helen Dankowska says:

    Thanks for this! I called my pharmacy and they are using the Heritage brand, whew!

  5. Todd says:

    Wow, thanks for the research! Tt doesn’t impact myself it does my mom, so I’m so going to check with her and see what manufacturer Express Scripts sends her. You know boys always worry about their moms and I’m for sure one of them.

    Todd

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