Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Glucophage

(Metformin)

  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
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Lowers blood sugar.

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Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Our pharmacists’ bottom line

Glucophage (Metformin) is a very effective medicine to lower blood sugar and the risk of complications and death from diabetes, but it's likely to cause diarrhea for the first few weeks.

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  • Oral blood sugar-lowering medicine.
  • A common first treatment for people with newly-diagnosed Type 2 diabetes.
  • The only oral diabetes medicine that lowers complications and deaths from conditions related to diabetes.
  • Lowers A1c levels by 1-2%. (Hemoglobin A1c measures your average blood sugar over time.)
  • Prevents the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
  • Also lowers certain lipid (fat and cholesterol) levels.
  • Unlike some diabetes medicines, doesn't cause weight gain or low blood sugar.
  • You don't have to check your blood sugar every day with this medicine.
  • One of the least expensive diabetes medicines.
  • Most people will have nausea, indigestion, or diarrhea in the first few weeks. You can minimize this if you take it on a full stomach.
  • People with poor kidney function can't use it.
  • Only works if your body can still make your own insulin, a hormone that tells your body what to do with sugar, protein, and fat.

Save on your next Glucophage (Metformin) prescription

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Side effects for Glucophage (Metformin)

From clinical trials of Metformin / Type 2 diabetes ( 286)

  • DiarrheaDiarrhea53% for Metformin vs.12% for placebo
  • Nausea/vomitingNausea/vomiting26% for Metformin vs.8% for placebo
  • Passing gasPassing gas12% for Metformin vs.6% for placebo
  • Muscle weaknessMuscle weakness9% for Metformin vs.6% for placebo
  • IndigestionIndigestion7% for Metformin vs.4% for placebo
  • Abdominal discomfortAbdominal discomfort6% for Metformin vs.5% for placebo
  • HeadacheHeadache6% for Metformin vs.5% for placebo

Manufacturers don’t say how common these side effects are

  • Abnormal stools
  • Chest discomfort
  • Chills
  • Flu syndrome
  • Flushing
  • Heart pounding or racing sensation
  • Lightheaded
  • Low blood sugar
  • Muscle pain
  • Nail disorder
  • Rash
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating increased
  • Taste disorder

What to expect when you take Glucophage (Metformin) for Improves blood sugar levels

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • Can cause upset stomach with nausea and especially diarrhea in the first couple of weeks.
  • Always take it with food or switch to the extended release version to avoid upset stomach.
  • Tell your doctor about any deep or rapid breathing, or persistent nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
  • Check your blood sugar regularly.

Risks and Warnings for Glucophage (Metformin)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Kidney problems
    • Liver problems
    • Congestive heart failure
    • Using contrast dye for procedures
    • Surgery
    • Alcohol use

    Glucophage (Metformin) can cause this rare but life-threatening condition. Symptoms include deep and rapid breathing, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. This is a medical emergency and you should get help right away. Baseline blood work for kidney and liver function are helpful to see if you can use Glucophage (Metformin). It may not be a good choice for people with kidney problems. Glucophage (Metformin) should be stopped 48 hours before and/or after surgery or any imaging procedure needing contrast dye.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Glucophage (Metformin)

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The FDA category for this medication is B. It is advised that you: Probably safe
Pregnancy
Alcohol
  • I think it has helped but I also took lots of hormones at the same time so it is hard to pin down exactly what helped my symptoms. Be very careful with alcohol...I had a couple of bad experiences even after just 2 glasses of wine.
    Taken for: Polycystic ovary syndrome
    Duration taken: Two years or more
Food
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • Always take it with food or switch to the extended release version to avoid upset stomach.
  • If prescribed by your doctor to take a larger dose, take it after your evening meal. Rather than in the morning. I find that this is less likely to cause stomach issues.
    Age: 26
    Gender: Man
    Taken for: Type 2 diabetes
    Duration taken: A few months
  • I take it morning and night with meals, it's like taking my vitamins. Not hard at all. I test my blood sugar 6 times a day or more. Before/after every meal. Only side effect I have had is gas.
    Age: 29
    Gender: Man
    Taken for: Type 2 diabetes
    Duration taken: A year or so
  • Always take it after meals to minimize the side effects, diarrhea and nausea can overwhelm you in the first couple of weeks.
    Age: 29
    Gender: Man
    Taken for: Type 2 diabetes
Kidneys & liver
  • Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
  • People with poor kidney function can't use it.
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • Glucophage (Metformin) can cause this rare but life-threatening condition. Symptoms include deep and rapid breathing, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. This is a medical emergency and you should get help right away. Baseline blood work for kidney and liver function are helpful to see if you can use Glucophage (Metformin). It may not be a good choice for people with kidney problems. Glucophage (Metformin) should be stopped 48 hours before and/or after surgery or any imaging procedure needing contrast dye.
Weight gain or loss
  • Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
  • Unlike some diabetes medicines, doesn't cause weight gain or low blood sugar.
  • Start dose low and escalate slowly. Expect mild nausea at start and with dose increases. It will go away, so stick with it. I feel fine now. I am convinced that this medicine also helped me lose weight too, thus improving my glucose #s.
    Age: 41
    Gender: Man
    Taken for: Type 2 diabetes
    Duration taken: A year or so