Metformin

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Metformin HCL

Metformin Hcl drug image

Brand Glucophage

     Form Oral Tablet

     Drug Type Antihyperglycemic, Biguanide Type

 

Metformin is used with a proper diet and exercise program and possibly with other medications to control high blood sugar. It is used in patients with type 2 diabetes.

 

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Drug Information

Metformin is used with a proper diet and exercise program and possibly with other medications to control high blood sugar. It is used in patients with type 2 diabetes. Controlling high blood sugar helps prevent kidney damage, blindness, nerve problems, loss of limbs, and sexual function problems. Proper control of diabetes may also lessen your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Metformin works by helping to restore your body's proper response to the insulin you naturally produce. It also decreases the amount of sugar your liver makes, and your stomach/intestines absorb.

Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking metformin and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 1-3 times a day with meals. Drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). To reduce your risk of side effects (such as upset stomach), your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.

Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time each day. If you are already taking another diabetes drug (such as chlorpropamide), follow your doctor's directions carefully for stopping/continuing the old drug and starting metformin. Check your blood sugar regularly as directed by your doctor. Keep track of the results, and share them with your doctor. Tell your doctor if your blood sugar measurements are too high or too low. Your dosage/treatment may need to be changed.

Nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, diarrhea, weakness, or a metallic taste in the mouth may occur. Tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly if any of these effects last or get worse. If stomach symptoms return later (after taking the same dose for several days or weeks), tell your doctor right away. Stomach symptoms that occur after the first days of your treatment may be signs of lactic acidosis.

Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Metformin does not usually cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Low blood sugar may occur if this drug is prescribed with other diabetes medications. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about whether the dose of your other diabetes medication(s) needs to be lowered. Symptoms of low blood sugar include sudden sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, or tingling hands/feet. It is a good habit to carry glucose tablets or gel to treat low blood sugar. If you don't have these reliable forms of glucose, rapidly raise your blood sugar by eating a quick source of sugar such as table sugar, honey, or candy, or drinking fruit juice or non-diet soda. Tell your doctor about the reaction right away. Low blood sugar is more likely if you drink large amounts of alcohol, do unusually heavy exercise, or do not consume enough calories from food. To help prevent low blood sugar, eat meals on a regular schedule, and do not skip meals. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out what to do if you miss a meal. Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing, and fruity breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication(s).

Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if this very serious side effect occurs: lactic acidosis. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, and trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Rarely, too much metformin can build up in the body and cause a serious (sometimes fatal) condition called lactic acidosis. Lactic acidosis is more likely if you are an older adult, if you have kidney or liver disease, dehydration, heart failure, heavy alcohol use, surgery, or X-ray or scanning procedures that use iodinated contrast, or if you are using certain drugs. For some conditions, your doctor may tell you to stop taking this medication for a short time. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Stop taking this medication and get medical help right away if you have any symptoms of lactic acidosis, such as unusual tiredness, dizziness, severe drowsiness, chills, blue/cold skin, muscle pain, fast/difficult breathing, slow/irregular heartbeat, or stomach pain with nausea/vomiting/diarrhea.

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all your products (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Beta-blocker medications (such as metoprolol, propranolol, and glaucoma eye drops such as timolol) may prevent the fast/pounding heartbeat you would usually feel when your blood sugar falls too low (hypoglycemia). Other symptoms of low blood sugar, such as dizziness, hunger, or sweating, are unaffected by these drugs. Many drugs can affect your blood sugar, making it harder to control.

Before starting, stopping, or changing medication, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how the medication may affect your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar regularly and share the results with your doctor. Tell your doctor immediately if you have high or low blood sugar symptoms. (See also the Side Effects section.) Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.

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The information provided on this page is updated periodically. Please use our Drug Search Tool for the latest information and updates about this drug. The information on this site is not intended to take the place of your doctor or other healthcare professionals. It is a resource to help you make the best decisions and get the most from the medical services available to you. A licensed physician should be consulted to diagnose and treat all medical conditions.