Metformin is a medication utilized to manage type 2 diabetes, a condition in which the body is unable to use insulin efficiently, resulting in uncontrolled levels of sugar in the bloodstream. Metformin can be administered alone or in conjunction with other drugs such as insulin.
This medication is classified as a biguanide and its mechanism of action involves reducing the absorption of glucose from food, decreasing glucose production in the liver, and enhancing the body’s response to insulin. Note that metformin is not suitable for the treatment of type 1 diabetes, a condition characterized by inadequate insulin production leading to high blood sugar levels.
Uses and Dosage
Metformin is available in liquid, tablet, and extended-release tablet formulations for oral administration. The liquid is typically taken one or two times a day with meals, while the regular tablet is usually taken two or three times a day with meals. The extended-release tablet is taken once daily during the evening meal.
To ensure that you take metformin consistently, try to take it at the same time(s) every day. Follow the instructions on your prescription label and seek clarification from your pharmacist or doctor if any aspect is unclear. Take metformin exactly as prescribed, neither more nor less, and avoid taking it more frequently than advised.
When taking metformin extended-release tablets, do not crush, chew, or break them; instead, swallow them whole.
Your physician may initiate metformin therapy at a low dose and gradually increase it no more frequently than once every one to two weeks. You must monitor your blood sugar levels closely to enable your doctor to evaluate the medication’s efficacy.
While metformin aids in the management of diabetes, it does not cure it. Even if you feel fine, continue to take metformin as directed. Do not discontinue taking metformin without consulting your doctor.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- stomach pain
- unpleasant metallic taste in mouth
- flushing of the skin
- nail changes
- muscle pain
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- chest pain
Prior to taking this medication, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to metformin or have any other allergies. Inactive constituents in this product may provoke allergic reactions or other complications.
Before administering this medication, disclose your medical history to your doctor or pharmacist, especially if you have a history of severe breathing difficulties (such as severe asthma or obstructive lung disease), blood disorders (such as anemia or vitamin B12 deficiency), kidney or liver disease.
You may encounter blurred vision, dizziness, or drowsiness as a result of extremely low or high blood sugar. Until you are confident that you can safely perform such tasks, do not operate machinery, drive, or engage in any activity that requires clear vision or attentiveness.
While taking this medication, limit alcohol consumption since it can increase the likelihood of developing low blood sugar and lactic acidosis.
Dehydration may occur as a result of high fever, diuretics, excessive sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting, increasing your risk of lactic acidosis. If you experience prolonged diarrhea or vomiting, cease taking this medication immediately and notify your doctor.
When your body is under stress, such as due to fever, infection, injury, or surgery, it may be more difficult to control your blood sugar. Consult your doctor, as increased stress may necessitate a change in your treatment plan, medication, or blood sugar monitoring.
Older individuals may be more susceptible to side effects such as low blood sugar or lactic acidosis.
During pregnancy, this medication should only be used when absolutely necessary. Discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor. Your doctor may recommend that you use insulin instead of this medication during your pregnancy.
Metformin can affect the menstrual cycle and increase the chances of pregnancy. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about the use of reliable contraception while using this medication.
Metformin passes into breast milk in minimal amounts. Speak with your doctor before nursing your baby.
Form and Strength
Glucophage is available in the following forms and strengths:
Does Glucophage lower blood sugar immediately?
Glucophage does not instantly reduce blood sugar levels. The effects are usually noticeable within 48 hours of taking the medication, and the most significant effects take 4–5 days to occur.
What to expect when you first start taking Glucophage?
Nausea and gastric distress such as stomach pain, gas, bloating, and diarrhea are somewhat common among people starting up on Glucophage.