Metformin and its Side Effects

Type of Drug:

Oral nonsulfoylurea antidiabetic agent used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (previously referred to as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus [NIDDM]).

How the Metformin Products Works:

Metformin reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver and the amount of glucose absorbed by the intestines, and enhances insulin sensitivity by increasing peripheral glucose uptake and utilization.

Uses of The Metformin:

Used as monotherapy along with diet and exercise to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. May also be prescribed for use with a sulfonylurea, meglitinide, or insulin.

Lactic acidosis: Lactic acidosis is a rare but serious side effect that can occur when taking this medication, particularly if kidney function is impaired. Stop taking this medicine and contact your doctor immediately if you experience general body discomfort, muscle pain, difficulty breathing, drowsiness, stomach pain, chills, dizziness, lightheadedne or slow heartbeat.

Diet and exercise: Diet and exercise are the primary managements type 2 diabetes. Metformin is used with, not as a substitute for, diet and exercise.

Heart problems: This medicine may increase the risk of heat problems compared to treatment with diet alone or diet plus insulin.

Pregnancy: There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Pregnant women with diabetes should be treated with insulin. Metformin is not recommended for control of blood sugar levels in pregnant women.

Breastfeeding: It is not known if metformin appears in breast milk. Consult your doctor before you begin breastfeeding.

Children: Safety and effectiveness for use of metformin tablets in patients under 10 years of age and metformin extended-release tablets in patients under 17 years of age have not been established.

Elderly: Elderly and debilitated patients are more likely to develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). Use with caution.

Lab Tests: Lab tests will be required to monitor therapy. Tests include blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA ), and kidney function tests.

Drug Interactions:

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or planning to take any over­the-counter or prescription medications or dietary supplements while taking metformin. Doses of one or both drugs may need to be modified or a different drug may need to be prescribed. The following drugs and drug classes interact with metformin:

Side Effects of Metformin:

Every drug is capable of producing side effects. Many metformin users experience no, or minor, side effects. The frequency or severity of side effects depend on many factors including dose, duration of therapy, and individual susceptibility. Possible side effects include:

Digestive Tract: Diarrhea; nausea; vomiting; stomach bloating or pain; gas; constipation; indigestion; abnormal stools; heartburn.

Nervous System: light-headedness; headache; weakness; dizziness.

Other: Changes in taste porception; rash; difficulty breathing; increased sweating low blood pressure pain ;upper respiratory infections ;chest discomfort chills; flu-like symptom ; flising; palpitations(pounding in the chest).

Guidelines for Use:

  • Dosage is individualized. Take exactly as prescribed. May be taken with other anti diabetic medication.
  • Tablets are usually taken twice daily with the morning and evening meals. Extended-release tablets are usually taken once daily with the evening meal.
  • Follow the diet and exercise program exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
  • If a dose is missed, take it as soon as possible. If several hours have passed or it is nearing time for the next dose, do not double the dose to catch up, unless advised to do so by your doctor. If more than one dose is missed or it is necessary to establish a new dosage schedule, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if you experience difficulty breathing, muscle pain, general body discomfort, drowsiness, dizziness, light­headedness, slow heartbeat, stomach pain, or chills.
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and appetite loss generally stop with continued use. If they continue, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while undergoing therapy with metformin.
  • The effectiveness of this medicine may decrease over time. If you feel that it is losing its effectiveness, contact your doctor.
  • Patients switched from metformin tablets to extended-release tablets do not appear to require dosage adjustments, but glycemic control should be closely monitored when switches occur.
  • Lab tests will be required to monitor therapy. Be sure to keep appointments.
  • Store at room temperature (59 to 86°F).

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