- Pioglitazone/Metformin Hydrochloride
The tablets contain 15mg pioglitazone and 850mg metformin hydrochloride. A usual dose is one tablet, taken twice a day with food.
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Competact is a treatment for type 2 diabetes. It contains two agents that help to increase the sensitivity of various cells in the body to insulin, and to decrease the amount of sugars produced by the liver. The tablets are taken twice a day, usually alongside a controlled diet to help get diabetes under control. Takeda are the manufacturers of Competact, which is only available to buy in the UK with a prescription.
- Effective twice daily course
- Helps with the management of diabetes
- Branded tablet treatment
Most cases of diabetes fall into one of two categories: type 1 and type 2. Both are lifelong illnesses, but while type 1 diabetes tends to manifest during a person’s formative years, type 2 will usually develop later on. The condition is characterised by an inability to produce and process insulin in the body; in the case of type 1, the body does not generate any insulin.
It is thought that of the 3 million people living in the UK with diabetes, around nine tenths of them have type 2 diabetes. Symptoms can vary, but those more common include persistent thirstiness, tiredness, increased urinary urgency or frequency, and dryness in the eyes. The condition, if left untreated, will usually become worse, so it is important to visit your doctor for advice if you notice any potential signs.
To help generate the energy the body needs to function, the pancreas gland produces a substance called insulin. This is a hormone which plays an integral role in controlling and converting glucose, or blood sugar, into the cells around the body. When a person has type 2 diabetes, at least one of the following problems is usually present: either their pancreas does not produce enough insulin to be able to handle the amount of sugar in the blood, and convert this into energy; or the body develops a resistance to the effects of insulin, thus making it difficult for the above energy conversion to take place.
Several factors can contribute towards the development of type 2 diabetes. For instance, a person’s likelihood of having the condition increases if they are genetically predisposed to it, or have a history of it in their family. Those who are over 40 or overweight are also more at risk. It is also more prominent among certain ethnic groups; you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are of Chinese or South Asian descent, and also if you are of African or Afro-Caribbean origin.
No cure for diabetes currently exists, so treatment for the condition is based mostly around management of blood glucose levels. A specialist or your GP will usually provide a diet and exercise plan to help reduce the effects of the condition and keep symptoms under control. Losing weight, stopping smoking and limiting alcohol intake can all contribute towards lowering the possibility of complications developing.
At a later stage however, medication may be required to treat the condition and stop it from progressing further. Metformin is a type of drug called a biguanide. This performs three functions: it inhibits the production of sugar by the liver; it increases the receptiveness of muscular cells to insulin, thereby raising the amount of sugar extracted from the blood as a result; and also slows down intestinal assimilation of those sugars present in food.
For some, a drug containing metformin alone may not produce the desired results, and combination treatment may be necessary. Competact, as well as containing metformin, also carries an active ingredient called pioglitazone. This is known as a thiazolidinedione agent, and works by increasing the responsiveness of the cells found in fat, muscles and liver to the effects of insulin. It also inhibits excess sugar production by the liver, and facilitates the production of insulin by the pancreas.
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How to use Competact
It is essential to read the patient information leaflet prior to use, and to adhere to the prescribed guidelines specified by your doctor. This will help you to lower the risk of side effects and increase the function of the treatment.
- Take as directed.
- For most, this will be one tablet twice a day.
- It is advisable to take the tablets with or after food in order to help your stomach digest them sufficiently.
- Continue with your diet plan as outlined by your doctor if you have one.
- You will need to have your weight monitored regularly. If you notice any signs of a sharp increase, let your doctor know.
- Periodic liver function tests may also be necessary.
- Do not exceed the dose prescribed for you.
- If you miss a dose, take your next one as scheduled. Do not compensate for a missed dose by doubling up.
The above constitutes only a guide. More detailed instructions can be found in the leaflet which comes with the medicine.
Competact side effects
It is vital to be aware of the possible side effects this treatment may cause, as some may be indicative of a reaction requiring medical help. For instance, if you notice any signs of lactic acidosis, such as feeling cold and uncomfortable, severe nausea and
vomiting, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, or rapid breathing, you should contact your nearest GP or hospital right away. The same applies to those who notice any signs of: bladder cancer, which may include blood in the urine, pain when urinating or a sudden need to urinate; blurred vision due to swelling at the back of the eye; or an allergic reaction, such as hives, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Very common (1 in 10 people or more):
Pain in the abdominal region, feeling or being sick, diarrhoea or loss of appetite.
Common (1 in 10 people or less):
Localised swelling, weight gain, headache, respiratory infection, blood in the urine, sight problems, joint pain, impotence, anaemia, numbness, taste disturbance or bone fractures.
Uncommon (1 in 100 people or less):
Sinusitis, flatulence, or difficulty sleeping.
Very rare (1 in 10,000 people or less):
Fall in amount of vitamin B12 in the blood, lactic acidosis, redness of the skin, itching, or a rash.
This is not a complete list of the side effects associated with this medication. For more detailed information please consult the leaflet supplied.
Taking it with other medicines
Let your doctor know if you are using any other prescription treatment when completing our questionnaire. The following may affect blood sugar levels and as a result, the function of this item: gemfibrozil; rifampicin; cimetidine; glucocorticoids;
beta-2-agonists; diuretics; and ACE inhibitors.
Conditions to look out for
Inform your prescriber during consultation if you have any conditions which may affect your capacity to use this item. Do not take this medication if you have or have ever had: heart failure; or bladder cancer. You should not use it if you have: severe circulatory problems; liver disease; an alcohol habit which involves either daily or occasional excessive consumption; diabetic ketoacidosis; blood in the urine which has not been addressed by a doctor; kidney problems; an X-ray scheduled for which you will need to be injected with a dye; a severe infection; or dehydration.
It may also not be suitable for, or require use under special precautions by, those who have or ever had: heart problems; fluid retention; a diabetic condition called macular oedema; ovarian cysts; or liver problems.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
It is not recommended that you use this medication during pregnancy, and it must not be used during breastfeeding.
If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor about alternative treatment options
Driving and using machinery
This medicine is not likely to inhibit your capacity to drive or use machines. However, you should exercise caution if your vision becomes affected.
Food, drink and alcohol
Excessive alcohol intake may increase the risk of harmful side effects.
Refer to the leaflet for more information on lactic acidosis.
Q&A: our Competact discussion forum
Can I still drink alcohol?
It is better to avoid drinking alcohol when taking this medication, as your susceptibility to lactic acidosis may rise.
Will I still be able to drive?
Yes, provided you do not get any side effects which could make driving dangerous. If you think you are having side effects and suspect that these may make driving difficult, do not drive and talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
Can I take the medicine while pregnant?
It is not recommended for use during pregnancy, and should not be taken by anyone who is breastfeeding.
How should I store it?
Keep it in a safe place, at room temperature.
Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?
The contents of this drug include: pioglitazone hydrochloride, metformin, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone (K 30), croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, macrogol 8000, talc and titanium dioxide.
It should not be used by those who are allergic to any containing ingredients.
Is it available over-the-counter?
You will need a prescription in order to be able to buy Competact from a UK pharmacy. This is so that a doctor can make sure it is safe for you to use before issuing it.
Is it right for me?
Your GP or consultant will discuss medication options with you during your regular review, and issue a prescription for the most appropriate treatment.
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