People's Pharmacy

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

April 28, 2006|By JOE GRAEDON AND TERESA GRAEDON

I am addicted to the diet pill phentermine. I have been abusing this medication for 10 years, usually taking 10 pills a day.

I have called a couple of clinics to try to get help, but the people I have spoken to act like this is not a real drug addiction. Is there any place that specializes in this kind of problem?

Phentermine (Adipex-P, Ionamin) is a weight-loss medicine similar to amphetamine. It was the "phen" in the now-infamous fen-phen diet pill combination.

According to the official label information: "Amphetamines and related stimulant drugs have been extensively abused. ... Abuse of amphetamines and related drugs may be associated with intense psychological dependence and severe social dysfunction."

For some people, kicking this kind of drug habit can be as difficult as stopping cocaine. You need drug-abuse counseling from an expert team and possibly even a residential rehab treatment program.

I have type 2 diabetes and have been on medication for some time. My fasting blood-sugar count was hovering between 84 to 94 mg/dl every day when I was taking Glucophage and Glucotrol.

My insurance company switched my prescriptions from name brand to generic to save money. I started taking metformin and glipizide (equivalent to Glucophage and Glucotrol). I have not changed my eating habits or exercise, but overnight my blood-glucose level increased to more than 140 mg/dl. How can the Food and Drug Administration say generics are identical?

We have heard from many readers who have had problems with certain generic drugs. Some patients with epilepsy have reported seizures when they were switched to generic Dilantin. Others have told us that their generic Prozac didn't alleviate depression.

The FDA tells us that such reports are unreliable.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or e-mail them via their Web site: PeoplesPharmacy.com.

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