Compare metformin vs. Levemir

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Glucophage
(metformin)

Levemir
(insulin detemir)

Lowers blood sugar. Glucophage (metformin) is the first choice medicine to control your blood sugar and lower the risk of death from diabetes, although a few people may not tolerate the stomach side effects.Lowers blood sugar. Levemir is a long-acting insulin that provides all-day sugar control. It can cause low blood sugar, so make sure you know what the symptoms are and always have a source of sugar nearby.
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Coupons for metformin
Best available price for 60 (500mg) tablets of metformin
Coupons for Levemir
Best available price for 1 (5 flextouch pens of 3ml) carton of insulin detemir
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.01metformin
Reviews for Glucophage (metformin)
65%
of people (All ages) say Glucophage (metformin) is worth it
46%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
938 reviews
Have you used Glucophage (metformin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Levemir (insulin detemir)
45%
-20% worse vs. Glucophage (metformin)
35%
-11% worse vs. Glucophage (metformin)
22%
-6% worse vs. Glucophage (metformin)
130 reviews
Have you used Levemir (insulin detemir)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
metforminLevemir
  • Diarrhea 41%
  • Nausea/vomiting 18%
  • Gas 6%
  • Weakness 3%
  • Indigestion 3%
  • Stomach pain 1%
  • Headache 1%
More metformin side effects »
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 26%
  • Headache 23%
  • Sore throat 10%
  • Influenza-like illness 8%
  • Abdominal pain 6%
  • "stomach flu" 17%
  • Fever 10%
  • Cough 8%
  • Viral infection 7%
  • Nausea 7%
More Levemir side effects »
How it works
metforminLevemir
Glucophage (metformin) is an anti-diabetic drug. It lowers the amount of sugar your body makes or absorbs, and allows your body use the existing insulin better.Levemir is a long-acting insulin medicine for diabetes. It acts like the insulin that your body normally makes to process sugars and fats, and it keeps your blood sugar stable throughout the day.
Type of medication
metforminLevemir
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
metforminLevemir
  • Pill
  • Extended release pill
  • Liquid
  • Injection
Used for
metforminLevemir
Risk factors for serious side effects
metforminLevemir
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Using contrast dye for procedures
  • Surgery
Detailed Glucophage (metformin) risks & warnings »
  • Insulin dose too high
  • Use of other blood sugar lowering medicines
  • Poor injection techniques
  • Unstable kidney functions
  • Unstable liver functions
Detailed Levemir (insulin detemir) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

Alcohol
metforminLevemir
  • Excessive or chronic alcohol use can increase the risk of a dangerous side effect.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol when taking this medicine.
No alcohol related info.
Food
metforminLevemir
  • Always take it with food to lessen stomach upset.
No food related info.
Kidneys and liver
metforminLevemir
  • Usually not a good choice for people with kidney problems. Your doctor will tell you if Glucophage (metformin) is right for you to take.
  • Glucophage (metformin) can cause this rare life-threatening condition. Your doctor will check your kidneys and liver before you start. Symptoms include deep and rapid breathing, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. This is a medical emergency and you should get help right away. You're more likely to get this if you already have kidney problems. Glucophage (metformin) should be stopped 48 hours before and after surgery or any imaging procedure needing contrast dye.
  • Okay to use even if you have liver or kidney problems, unlike most other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
Weight
metforminLevemir
  • Doesn't cause weight gain.
  • Likely to cause moderate weight gain (around 4 to 6 pounds).
  • Can cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
Upsides and benefits
metforminLevemir
  • Improves sugar control and lowers A1c levels as much as 2%.
  • One of the few diabetes medicines that lowers the risk of death from diabetes-related complications.
  • Doesn't cause weight gain.
  • Rarely causes low blood sugar.
  • Insulin is the most effective blood sugar-lowering medicine. When used correctly, it'll lower blood sugar every time you use it and prevent the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
  • Levemir is a long-lasting insulin that provides consistent, all-day sugar control with less risk of low blood sugar.
  • Dose can be easily adjusted to make a customized regimen that's tailored to your body.
  • Starting insulin early in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes can maintain your body's insulin-producing cells and slow down disease progression.
  • Okay to use even if you have liver or kidney problems, unlike most other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
Downsides and risks
metforminLevemir
  • Often causes stomach upset, like diarrhea, nausea, gas, or stomach cramping.
  • Usually not a good choice for people with kidney problems. Your doctor will tell you if Glucophage (metformin) is right for you to take.
  • Excessive or chronic alcohol use can increase the risk of a dangerous side effect.
  • You have to take insulin by injection.
  • You have to check your blood sugar every day.
  • Likely to cause moderate weight gain (around 4 to 6 pounds).
  • Higher risk of low blood sugar episodes than other kinds of diabetes medicines.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
metforminLevemir
  • Can cause upset stomach with nausea and especially diarrhea in the first couple of weeks.
  • Always take it with food to lessen stomach upset.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol when taking this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor about any deep or rapid breathing, or persistent nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
  • Check your blood sugar regularly.
  • Long-acting insulin good for baseline blood sugar control.
  • Works in 1 hour and lasts about 24 hours.
  • Can cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
  • Make sure you and your family know the symptoms of low blood sugar: sweating, shakiness, weakness, fast heartbeat, nervousness, headache, blurry vision, trouble thinking clearly, or passing out.
  • Always have a good source of sugar nearby for low blood sugar episodes.
  • Take it at the same time every day.
  • Make sure you understand how to give yourself the injections.
  • Don't shake the vial or mix with another insulin. Store unopened vials in the refrigerator. Opened vials are good at room temperature for 28 days.
  • Check your blood sugar levels every day.
Learn more
More about metforminSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Glucophage (metformin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about LevemirSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Levemir (insulin detemir)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it