Glucophage (metformin) is an oral diabetes medicine that helps control blood sugar levels.
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 that your liver makes and that 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 in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same times 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.
The recommended starting dose of glucophage is 500 mg orally twice a day or 850 mg once a day, given with meals. Increase the dose in increments of 500 mg weekly or 850 mg every 2 weeks on the basis of glycemic control and tolerability, up to a maximum dose of 2550 mg per day, given in divided doses. Doses above 2000 mg may be better tolerated given 3 times a day with meals.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Glucophage: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Some people using metformin develop lactic acidosis, which can be fatal. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms such as:
Used in isolatio, Glucophage will not automatically result in lower blood glucose levels. However, low blood sugar levels can often be achieved by combining Metformin with diet, exercise and possibly other antidiabetic medication.
People with diabetes taking Metformin should be aware of their blood glucose levels. They should understand what hypoglycaemia is, the symptoms of hypoglycaemia and what to do if you experience hypoglycaemia. Seek more information about hypoglycaemia from your healthcare professionals.
Taking Metformin can sometimes cause a rare condition known as lactic acidosis. This occurs when lactic acid builds up in the blood. Doctors monitor metformin patients for this kind of side effect. Kidney function should be monitored regularly when taking Glucophage, at least once or twice each year. For some people with diabetes, checks will be more regular. Patients having certain types of X-ray should advise their doctor and not stop the medication. Similarly, if you are due to have surgery under general anaesthetic you should consult with your doctor.