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2-Amino-2-Deoxyglucose, A-Spas S/L, Acanthopanax senticosus, Acarbose, Ackerkraut, Agrimonia, Agrimonia eupatoria, Agrimony, Airelle, Alant, Alfalfa, Alhova, Allium, Allium sativum, Aloe barbadensis, Aloe species, Aloe vera, American Ginseng, Amorphophallus konjac, Anaspaz, Anchi, Antispas Injection, Antispasmodic Elixer, Artane, Artane Elixir, Artane Sequels, Asian Ginseng, AtroPen, Atropine Auto-Injection, Atropine Care, Atropine Injection, Atropine Ophthalmic, Atropine Oral, Atropine, Hyoscyamine, Phenobarbital, and Scopolamine Elixir, Atropine, Hyoscyamine, Phenobarbital, and Scopolamine Oral, Atropisol, Azucacaa, Baikal Scullcap, Baikal Skullcap Root, Bal, Barley, Barley Grass, Bdellium, Bellacane SR, Belladonna Alkaloids, Ergotamine, and Phenobarbital Tablets, Bellaspas, Bellergal-S, Bentyl, Bentyl Injection, Bentyl Syrup, Benztropine Mesylate Injection, Benztropine Mesylate Oral, Bilberry, Bird's Foot, Black ginger, Black Psyllium, Blond Psyllium, Blowball, Bol, Bramhi, Burn 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Quick guide to Metformin

Brand Name(s): Glucophage

Generic Name Metformin

What are metformin tablets?

METFORMIN (Glucophage®) is a medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. Treatment is combined with a balanced diet and exercise. This medicine lowers blood sugar and helps your body to use insulin more efficiently. It is sometimes used with other medicines for diabetes. Generic metformin tablets are available.

What should my health care professional know before I take metformin?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • frequently drink alcohol or alcohol-containing beverages
  • become easily dehydrated
  • heart attack
  • heart failure that is treated with medications
  • hormone changes or problems
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • polycystic ovaries
  • serious infection or injury
  • thyroid disease
  • undergoing surgery or certain x-ray procedures with injectable contrast agents
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to metformin, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take metformin tablets by mouth, with meals. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What drug(s) may interact with metformin?

  • alcohol
  • cephalexin
  • cimetidine
  • digoxin
  • dofetilide
  • entecavir
  • morphine
  • nifedipine
  • procainamide
  • propantheline
  • quinidine
  • quinine
  • ranitidine
  • trimethoprim
  • trospium
  • vancomycin
  • water pills (diuretics like amiloride, furosemide, triamterene)

Many medications may cause changes (increase or decrease) in blood sugar, these include:

  • alcohol containing beverages
  • aspirin and aspirin-like drugs
  • beta-blockers, often used for high blood pressure or heart problems (examples include atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol)
  • chromium
  • female hormones, such as estrogens, progestins, or contraceptive pills
  • isoniazid
  • male hormones or anabolic steroids
  • medications for weight loss
  • medicines for allergies, asthma, cold, or cough
  • niacin
  • pentamidine
  • phenytoin
  • some herbal dietary supplements
  • steroid medicines such as prednisone or cortisone
  • thyroid hormones
  • water pills (diuretics)

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking metformin?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • breathing difficulties or shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • muscle aches or pains
  • passing out or fainting
  • severe vomiting or diarrhea
  • slow or irregular heartbeat
  • unusual stomach pain or discomfort
  • unusual weakness, fatigue or discomfort

In combination with other diabetic medications, (like acarbose, glyburide, glipizide, miglitol, or insulin), metformin may cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Contact your health care professional if you experience symptoms of low blood sugar, which may include:

  • anxiety or nervousness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, hunger, pale skin, nausea, fatigue, sweating, headache, palpitations, numbness of the mouth, tingling in the fingers, tremors, muscle weakness, blurred vision, cold sensations, uncontrolled yawning, irritability, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, and loss of consciousness

Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include:

  • dizziness, dry mouth, flushed dry-skin, fruit-like breath odor, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach ache, unusual thirst, frequent passing of urine

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • decreased appetite
  • gas
  • heartburn
  • metallic taste in the mouth
  • mild stomachache
  • nausea
  • weight loss

What should I watch for while taking metformin?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Your prescriber will check your blood sugar, kidney function, and other tests from time to time.

Learn how to monitor your blood sugar. Learn what to do if you have high or low blood sugar. Do not skip meals. If you are exercising much more than usual you may need extra snacks to avoid side effects caused by low blood sugar. Do not change your medication dose without talking to your prescriber.

If you have mild symptoms of low blood sugar, eat or drink something containing sugar at once and contact your health care professional. It is wise to check your blood sugar to confirm that it is low. It is important to recognize your own symptoms of low blood sugar so that you can treat them quickly. Make sure family members know that you can choke if you eat or drink when you develop serious symptoms of low blood sugar, such as seizures or unconsciousness. They must get medical help at once.

If you develop a severe diarrhea or vomiting, or are unable to maintain proper fluid intake, you should contact your prescriber. "Sick-days" may require adjustments to your dosage or your illness may need to be evaluated. Ask your prescriber what you should do if you become ill.

If you are going to have surgery or will need an x-ray procedure that uses contrast agents, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking this medicine.

Wear a medical identification bracelet or chain to say you have diabetes, and carry a card that lists all your medications.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Protect from moisture and light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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