Meijer Adds Metformin Immediate Release to Free Drug Program

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Meijer supermarkets and pharmacies, operating in 5 Midwestern US States, will begin offering customers Metformin Immediate Release as part of their free medication program, which is part of the company’s healthy living initiatives designed to provide no-cost medicine to shoppers. The program also offers the seven most popular children’s antibiotics and prescription prenatal vitamins for free.

Meijer’s operates over 180 stores in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky. To date, the free medication program has filled more than five million free antibiotic prescriptions and more than 500,000 prenatal vitamin prescriptions saving customers more than $90 million, according to the company press release.

"So much of what we do is designed to promote a healthier lifestyle for our shoppers – whether it's helping them to live better or to feel better," said Hank Meijer, Co-Chairman and C.E.O. "Our Healthy Living and Wellness programs include everything from diabetes screenings and in-store food demos to prescription drug programs, immunizations and meal planning. This is one more way Meijer can help our customers build healthier lifestyles while saving them money."

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Metformin Immediate Release is the most commonly prescribed oral treatment for type 2 diabetes with over 80 million prescriptions filled in the United States in 2008. It is available as both a generic drug and under the brand names of Glucophage, Fortamet, and Riomet. The program will offer doses of 500 mg, 850 mg, and 1000 mg.

In a recent study published in the March 2010 Diabetes Care journal, researchers found that starting Metformin early could increase the success rate of the drug controlling blood sugar and preventing long-term complications such as heart disease, kidney failure, and blindness.

Metformin has also been shown to be helpful in decreasing body weight in some non-diabetic obese adolescents. In the February issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Metformin XR - the extended release formulation, not the version available on Meijer’s free medication program – researchers from Stanford University and the Lucile S. Packard Children’s Hospital found a “small, but statistically significant” reduction in body mass index (BMI) over the course of the first year of the study. Childhood obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and a high risk for adult obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Metformin is part of a complete and comprehensive program of diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes to help lower blood sugar to a normal range. Discuss all current medical conditions and current medications (including over-the-counter and herbal or nutritional supplements) with your personal physician before taking Metformin. Be sure to continue to use a glucose monitor to check blood sugar readings to ensure that the medication is working to control type 2 diabetes.

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