My Not So Merry Season Of Metformin
It's been awhile since my last post, but I've been going through a not so merry season with Metformin. I'm writing about it because I suspect many of you may have or are going through the same thing with no idea of the cause.
This started in August for me. We had a terrible storm come through that demolished some of our farm buildings. I started having hives which I attributed to nerves. I would get them to clear up and then they would be back with a vengeance. My stomach and my face were a hot, fiery, itching mess. I thought maybe it was dust in the air from harvest. Yet, even after our first hard freeze in early November I was still having hives. So, I went to the doctor.
I also might mention that my blood sugar control went out the window. I had been doing so very well and was crushed because I was still doing what I had been doing.
The second the doctor looked at me I could see his concern. He asked me a series of questions about how I felt and what I might be doing differently. I had had a flu shot at a big box store and thought maybe I could be reacting to that. He asked about Metformin. Had the pharmacy switched suppliers. I knew they had gone from a pre-packaged version to a bulk version they counted out. It smelled awful. The doctor gave me a shot, some cream, and high dose of Benydryl. I was to come back in two weeks.
During that time I became my own private investigator. I went to the pharmacy at the big box store and asked where they got their Metformin from and if they knew what formula they used to make it. The pharmacy technician told me that she could order special Metformin for me. I couldn't believe that. Then astounding me further, she told me that there are over 200 brands of generic Metformin. Did you catch that …. 200 different brands of generic Metformin. She gave me the packaging information off of their bulk Metformin bottle.
My intuition was telling me that the Metformin was causing my hives. I couldn't deny that my problems with hives began when the Metformin supplier changed at the big box store pharmacy.
Now let me tell you how bad these pills smelled. The only word to describe it is, well, urine. I simply felt they were poisoning me.
So, I went back to the doctor two weeks later with this information in hand along with my bottle of Metformin. When the doctor came in, I sat the bottle on his desk asking him to smell it and then to tell me if that was good for me. He was shocked at the smell. A little more investigating on his part from the packaging revealed the Metformin was manufactured by a company in India. Now, I have nothing against India. However, I do ask myself if their manufacturing standards are the same as they might be in the U.S.
The doctor threw the pills away and found a local pharmacy who gets their supply from a different source. I refilled the prescription there.
As of this moment, I'm hives free and my blood sugar is stabilizing.
I found this whole ordeal very upsetting not only for myself, but for the thousands of people out there who could be losing control of their blood sugar and having to go on insulin because they are getting bad Metformin. It seems so needless and ridiculous. The big box store is out to keep prices low. I understand that. It's fine for toilet paper, but not for my prescription medication.
I'm very thankful I have a doctor who listens to me. Sometimes I think he's not so happy to see me because I tend to research what I'm dealing with. I believe in listening to my intuition and being my own advocate. I do ask questions. Lots of them. I am not a sheepish diabetic.
If you are experiencing a lack of blood sugar control and get your Metformin from a big box chain, please go see your doctor. Tell him about the 200 different brands of Metformin. It really could be the Metformin.
Be blessed and take care of yourselves.