If you or someone you know has diabetes, you may have heard of a drug called Metformin. Metformin is a generic drug, which means it could be sold under the following brand names: Fortamet, Glucophage, GlucophageXR, Glumetza or Riomet.
In people with diabetes, Metformin is used to lower blood sugar. Metformin belongs to the biguanide class of drugs. Unlike other medications used to treat diabetes, Metformin does not increase the production of insulin. Instead, Metformin works by decreasing the liver’s glucose production, decreasing the absorption of glucose in the gut and improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
Before starting treatment with this drug, it is important to tell your doctor if you have any Metformin-related allergies or complications, including lactic acidosis. Make sure to notify your doctor if you have kidney or liver disease before taking Metformin. Finally, inform all of your healthcare professionals if you are using Metformin, including x-ray technicians and your dentist.
Metformin can be used alone or in conjunction with other diabetes medication. Metformin comes in pill or liquid form, and is usually taken with meals. You should store Metformin in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children and pets. 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 take the next does as scheduled. Do not double up or take extra doses of Metformin.
As with any drug, it is important to be aware of the side effects of Metformin. It is normal to experience initial stomach problems when you first begin treatment with Metformin, but do not hesitate to call your doctor if you are concerned. You should call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these side effects: signs of an allergic reaction including skin problems, wheezing, tightness in chest or throat, trouble breathing or talking, hoarseness and swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat.
Keep in mind that medications can affect each person differently. Talk to your doctor to see if Metformin is right for you and to find a treatment plan that works.