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What is this medicine?
Metformin, sold under the brand name Glucophage, is a medication used to control high blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Metformin is a biguanide, which works by decreasing the amount of glucose produced by the liver and also makes the body more sensitive to insulin. This medication is not used to treat type 1 diabetes.
Metformin is usually taken orally, and it comes in both immediate-release and extended-release forms. Immediate-release metformin is usually taken two to three times a day, with meals, while extended-release metformin is taken once a day, usually with the evening meal.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
Before taking metformin, it is important to inform your healthcare provider if you have any allergies or have had previous adverse reactions to metformin or any other medications. Also, inform your healthcare provider if you have any medical conditions, such as liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, or any other conditions that may affect your ability to take the medication safely.
Additionally, if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, as the safety of the medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been established.
How should I use this medicine?
Metformin should be taken exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. This medication should be taken with meals to prevent stomach upset, and it is important to not crush, chew or break the tablet as it may cause the medication to be released too quickly and cause adverse effects.
The extended-release form of metformin should be swallowed whole and should not be split, crushed, or chewed. This medication may also be taken with or without food but should be taken at the same time every day.
Dosage may vary depending on the individual’s medical condition and response to treatment. It is important not to change the dose or stop taking this medication without consulting your healthcare provider first.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of metformin, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
While taking metformin, it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. Your healthcare provider may also order lab tests to monitor your kidney and liver function, as this medication can affect these organs. Alert your healthcare provider if you experience any symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
If you plan to undergo any medical procedures or surgery, inform your healthcare provider ahead of time, as you may be asked to temporarily discontinue the medication.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Common side effects of metformin include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, headache, and metallic taste in the mouth. These side effects are usually mild and may decrease over time as your body adjusts to the medication.
Some individuals may experience more serious side effects, such as lactic acidosis, a rare but serious complication that can occur when there is a buildup of lactic acid in the blood. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include muscle pain, weakness, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, and dizziness. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience these symptoms.
Where should I keep my medicine?
Metformin should be stored at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Keep this medication out of reach of children and pets. Do not use metformin after the expiration date printed on the label.