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Metformin (Generic Glucophage) helps control high blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes, an illness where your body does not make enough insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it makes. This leads to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. Metformin works by helping your body restore its proper response to the insulin you naturally produce, and lowers the amount of sugar made in your liver and absorbed in your stomach and intestines. Controlling blood sugar is important for preventing kidney damage, nerve problems, blindness, sexual dysfunction and potentially even loss of limbs. Properly managing blood sugar can also reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Metformin is often prescribed when a healthy diet and exercise alone are not enough to control blood sugar levels, and may be prescribed along with other medications to manage type 2 diabetes.
Metformin is available as both an immediate release and extended release formulation. Metformin immediate release is the generic version of Glucophage. Metformin extended release is the generic version of Glucophage XR, Fortamet and Glumetza.
Metformin is the generic version of Glucophage, and requires a prescription. You can buy generic metformin at Blink Health Pharmacy.
Blink Health Pharmacy offers a discounted price on metformin by working directly with the pharmaceutical supply industry to negotiate lower prices, and passes the savings onto patients.
All generic medications sold through Blink Health Pharmacy are FDA-approved. All FDA-approved generics must have the same strength, dosage form, safety and effectiveness as their brand-name counterparts.
In 2017, metformin was ranked #4 as the most prescribed medication in the United States, with more than 78 million prescriptions.
How to use metformin
Before you start taking metformin and each time you get a refill, be sure to read the Patient Information Leaflet. If you have any questions, consult your clinician or pharmacist.
Take metformin by mouth as directed by your licensed medical professional, usually one to three times per day with meals. There are different formulations of metformin, so be sure to take it exactly as prescribed. Unless directed otherwise by your licensed medical professional, drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication.
The dosage you've been prescribed is based on your medical condition, other conditions you're managing and your response to treatment. Tell your clinician and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription and nonprescription drugs, as well as herbal products). Your licensed medical professional may tellyou to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose, in order to reduce your risk of side effects, such as upset stomach . Follow your licensed medical professionals instructions carefully.
To get the most benefit from your metformin, take it regularly at the same time(s) each day.
If you are already taking another medication to help manage your diabetes, follow your licensed medical professionals directions carefully for stopping or continuing the old drug when starting metformin.
While taking metformin, check your blood sugar level regularly as directed by your licensed medical professional. Keep track of the results, and share them with your licensed medical professional. Be sure to tell them if your blood sugar measurements are too high or too low, as your dosage or treatment may need to be adjusted based on your condition.
What are the side effects of metformin?
It's important to be aware of possible side effects before you start taking a medication. Here are the listed side effects for this drug:
See also Warning & Precautions section.
Nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, diarrhea, weakness, or a metallic taste in the mouth may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. If stomach symptoms return later (after taking the same dose for several days or weeks), tell your doctor right away. Stomach symptoms that occur after the first days of your treatment may be signs of lactic acidosis.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Metformin does not usually cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Low blood sugar may occur if this drug is prescribed with other diabetes medications. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about whether the dose of your other diabetes medication(s) needs to be lowered.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include sudden sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, or tingling hands/feet. It is a good habit to carry glucose tablets or gel to treat low blood sugar. If you don't have these reliable forms of glucose, rapidly raise your blood sugar by eating a quick source of sugar such as table sugar, honey, or candy, or drink fruit juice or non-diet soda. Tell your doctor about the reaction right away. Low blood sugar is more likely if you drink large amounts of alcohol, do unusually heavy exercise, or do not consume enough calories from food. To help prevent low blood sugar, eat meals on a regular schedule, and do not skip meals. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out what you should do if you miss a meal.
Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing, and fruity breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication(s).
Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if this very serious side effect occurs: lactic acidosis (see Warning section).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Warnings and precautions for metformin
It's also important to be aware of precautions and warnings around taking this medication.
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to metformin; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: severe breathing problems (such as obstructive lung disease, severe asthma), blood problems (such as anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency), kidney disease, liver disease.
Before having surgery or any X-ray/scanning procedure using iodinated contrast, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). You may need to stop this medication for a short time for the surgery/procedure. Ask your doctor or dentist for instructions before your surgery/procedure.
You may experience blurred vision, dizziness, or drowsiness due to extremely low or high blood sugar. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.
Limit alcohol while using this medication because it can increase your risk of lactic acidosis and developing low blood sugar.
High fever, 'water pills' (diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide), too much sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting may cause loss of too much body water (dehydration) and increase your risk of lactic acidosis. Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if you have prolonged diarrhea or vomiting. Be sure to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration unless your doctor directs you otherwise.
It may be harder to control your blood sugar when your body is stressed (such as due to fever, infection, injury, or surgery). Consult your doctor because increased stress may require a change in your treatment plan, medications, or blood sugar testing.
Older adults may be at greater risk for side effects such as low blood sugar or lactic acidosis.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Your doctor may direct you to use insulin instead of this product during your pregnancy. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
Metformin can cause changes in the menstrual cycle (promote ovulation) and increase the risk of becoming pregnant. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about the use of reliable birth control while using this medication.
Metformin passes into breast milk in small amounts. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Pill storage for metformin
Store metformin at room temperature, away from moisture and light. Do not store metformin in the bathroom. Keep metformin, and all medications, away from pets and children.
Unless instructed to do so, do not pour metformin or any medication down a drain or flush them down the toilet. Ask your pharmacist or local waste disposal company how to properly discard metformin once it is expired or no longer needed.
Drug interactions for metformin
Drug interactions can increase your risk for serious side effects or change how your medications work. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription and nonprescription drugs, as well as herbal products) and share it with your clinician and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of metformin or any medicines you take without your licensed medical professional's approval.
Beta-blocker medications, like propranolol or metoprolol, and glaucoma eye drops, such as timolol, may prevent the pounding or fast heartbeat you would usually feel when your blood sugar falls too low (hypoglycemia). Other symptoms of low blood sugar, like hunger, sweating or dizziness are unaffected by these drugs.
Your blood sugar can be difficult to control, because many drugs can affect it. Talk with your clinician or pharmacist about how a medication may affect your blood sugar before you start, stop, or change it. Check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your licensed medical professional. Tell them right away if you have symptoms of high or low blood sugar. (See Side Effects.) Your licensed medical professional may need to adjust your diabetes medication, diet or exercise program.
Symptoms of metformin overdose can include: rapid breathing, severe drowsiness, slow/irregular heartbeat and/or severe nausea/diarrhea/vomiting.
Overdose can cause lactic acidosis.
Call 911 if someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing. Otherwise, call a poison control center immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
If you miss a dose of metformin, take it as soon as you remember with food. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double your dose in order to catch up.
Do not share metformin with other people.
To learn more about how to manage your diabetes, consider attending a diabetes education program. You'll get information about how to manage your diabetes with diet, exercise, medications and regular medical exams.
Also take the time to learn the symptoms of low and high blood sugar, and how to treat low blood sugar if and when it occurs. Check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your licensed medical professional.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as hemoglobin A1c, kidney function, liver function, complete blood counts and blood sugar) should be done before you start taking metformin and while you are taking it. Keep all scheduled lab and medical appointments. Consult your licensed medical professional for more details.
May include selected content from the Licensed Solutions data, included with permission and copyrighted by FDB, inc., 2014. This copyrighted material has been downloaded and Licensed data is not for distribution in professional healthcare settings. This information is generalized and not intended as specific medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional before taking any drug or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.
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