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September 24, 2002

Pills for Diabetes

Question from Cumming, Georgia, USA:

I take Glucophage XR, the doctor has been puzzled for a while why my blood sugars are not stable, and I noticed a week ago that the pills seem to be passing right through me. They are not breaking down; I am passing them whole. Should I bring this to my doctor"s attention? I also plan on trying to contact the drug manufacturers.


Many people have had the same concern about long acting medications such as Glucophage XR [metformin] and Glucotrol XL. I know it appears as if the pill is intact, but in fact, you have passed an empty casing. The pill has slowly released the medication, as is intended. What you describe is absolutely normal.


[Editor’s comment: From the manufacturer’s “Patient Information” part of the Product Information:

“Occasionally, the inactive [tablet] of GLUCOPHAGE XR may be eliminated as a soft mass in your stool that may look like the original tablet; this is not harmful and will not affect the way GLUCOPHAGE XR works to control your diabetes.”