What is Avandamet?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist

Avandamet is a brand name diabetes medication that combines two different drugs, rosiglitazone and metformin. This medication is only intended for use by people with type two diabetes, not type one. It is also not intended to treat diabetic ketoacidosis, which is an elevated level of ketones in the urine. Candidates for this medicine must not be daily users of insulin injections.

Taking birth control pills in addition to Avandamet may cause high blood sugar.
Taking birth control pills in addition to Avandamet may cause high blood sugar.

Rosiglitazone works by encouraging the body's response to naturally-produced insulin. Metformin decreases the absorption of sugar by the intestines, as well as the production of sugar by the liver. Avandamet is one part of a treatment plan for diabetes, and patients must also follow their doctors' recommendations on diet, exercise, and weight loss.

Blood sugar levels must still be checked regularly as with any other diabetes treatment. Patients may also need to undergo periodic blood tests to check their response to the treatment. Avandamet is taken orally with food, typically once or twice daily. The doctor may also prescribe a specific amount of vitamin B12 to be taken in addition to the diabetes drug.

This medication is not for everyone. Patients who have congestive heart failure, liver disease, or heart disease may be unable to take Avandamet. Diabetic eye problems, a history of stroke or heart attack, and kidney conditions may also preclude a person from using it. It is unknown whether it may cause birth defects or pass into breast milk. Pregnant or breastfeeding patients should not take this drug without a doctor's approval.

There are some serious side effects associated with Avandamet. It may make a patient more likely to develop lactic acidosis, which can be fatal. Patients should go to the emergency room immediately if they experience trouble breathing, nausea with vomiting, and dizziness, as well as weakness and fatigue. Other signs include muscle pain, uneven heart rate, and a cold sensation or numbness in the legs or arms. Consuming alcohol while taking Avandamet can increase the risk of lactic acidosis.

Other possible side effects may include joint pain, back pain, and headache. Some patients have reported cold symptoms, such as a sore throat and sneezing. Patients who experience swelling, rapid weight gain, or problems with speech, balance, or vision should call a doctor immediately.

Avandamet may interact with other medications or procedures. Patients who plan to undergo certain x-rays that require a dye injection may need to stop taking the drug for a period of time. It may also interact with digoxin, morphine, and ketaconazole, as well as seizure medications and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). People will be more likely to experience high blood sugar if they take diuretics, steroids, and birth control pills in addition to Avandamet.

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