Diabetes drug information: Metformin

Metformin is used, in addition to diet and exercise, for the treatment of diabetes. It helps control blood sugar levels in non-insulin-dependant diabetes mellitus. This medication works by reducing the amount of glucose produced by liver, glucose absorbed from food through your stomach and improves the efficiency of insulin in the body in reducing glucose already in the blood.

Before using Metformin, inform your doctor, if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding; if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine; and if you have any medical conditions such as liver or heart disease.

Important information about Metformin

People with kidney problems should not use this medication. Metformin lowers blood glucose (sugar) by reducing the amount of sugar produced by the liver and the amount of sugar absorbed by the intestines. It may also increase the sensitivity of the cells of the body to the action of insulin. Lactic acidosis may occur while taking this medicine.

Inform your doctor if you have:

  • Slow stomach emptying or metabolism problems
  • Surgery (major)
  • Any other conditions in which blood sugar changes rapidly
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Burns (severe)
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea (severe)
  • Mental stress

Metformin side effects

Most severe: Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain or discomfort; dizziness or lightheadedness; fast or difficult breathing; feeling of being unusually cold; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; general feeling of being unwell; muscle pain or weakness; slow or irregular heartbeat; unusual drowsiness; unusual or persistent stomach pain or discomfort; unusual tiredness or weakness.

Most common: Diarrhea; gas; headache; indigestion; nausea; stomach upset; temporary metallic taste; vomiting.

This information is advisory only. It does not contain all information about this medication. If you have any questions about Metformin, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

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