Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availableClass: Endocrine

Glucophage Alternatives

(metformin)

Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availableClass: Endocrine
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Compare Glucophage (metformin) to alternatives

These medications are comparable to Glucophage (metformin) or used for similar purposes.

Glucophage
(metformin)

Actos
(pioglitazone)

Prandin
(repaglinide)

Precose
(acarbose)

Januvia
(sitagliptin)

Invokana
(canagliflozin)

Victoza
(liraglutide)

Lantus
(insulin glargine)

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. Actos (pioglitazone) can improve blood sugar control but is not a top choice since it has a lot of side effects.Lowers blood sugar. Prandin (repaglinide) works quickly to lower blood sugar, especially during mealtimes. However, it can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if you are not consistent with your diet and exercise schedule.Lowers blood sugar. Precose (acarbose) helps lower your post-mealtime blood sugar levels, but it must be taken at the beginning of each main meal in order for it to be most effective.Lowers your blood sugar. Januvia (sitagliptin) is a good add-on treatment if your blood sugars are not controlled and you don't want to use an injectable medicine.Lowers blood sugar. Invokana (canagliflozin) can be used together with other diabetes medicines to help lower your blood sugar, but it can be expensive because it's brand name.Lowers your blood sugar. Victoza (liraglutide) is a medicine you inject once a day to control diabetes, but it can be expensive.Lowers blood sugar. Lantus (Insulin Glargine) 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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.01metformin
Reviews for metformin
65%
of people (All ages) say 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 Actos
42%
+23% better vs. metformin
30%
+16% better vs. metformin
21%
+5% better vs. metformin
175 reviews
Have you used Actos (pioglitazone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

Not enough reviews for this treatment. Help someone out, leave a review!

Have you used Prandin (repaglinide)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

Not enough reviews for this treatment. Help someone out, leave a review!

Have you used Precose (acarbose)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Januvia
44%
+21% better vs. metformin
34%
+12% better vs. metformin
17%
+1% better vs. metformin
143 reviews
Have you used Januvia (sitagliptin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Invokana
67%
-2% worse vs. metformin
56%
-10% worse vs. metformin
19%
+3% better vs. metformin
Have you used Invokana (canagliflozin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Victoza
73%
-8% worse vs. metformin
91%
-45% worse vs. metformin
27%
+11% better vs. metformin
Have you used Victoza (liraglutide)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Lantus
67%
-2% worse vs. metformin
51%
-5% worse vs. metformin
14%
-2% worse vs. metformin
584 reviews
Have you used Lantus (insulin glargine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
  • Diarrhea 41%
  • Nausea/vomiting 18%
  • Gas 6%
  • Weakness 3%
  • Indigestion 3%
  • Stomach pain 1%
  • Headache 1%
More metformin side effects »
  • Swelling 11%
  • Low blood sugar 8%
  • Colds and flu 4%
  • Headache 2%
  • Heart failure 2%
  • Sinus infection 1%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Muscle pain 2%
More Actos side effects »
  • Common cold 8%
  • Low blood sugar 24%
  • Headache 1%
  • Joint pain 3%
  • Sinusitis 4%
  • Diarrhea 3%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Swelling in arms and legs 5%
  • Heart failure 4%
More Prandin side effects »
  • Excessive gas 46%
  • Diarrhea 19%
  • Stomach pain 10%
More Precose side effects »
  • Common cold 2%
  • Diarrhea 1%
  • Upper respiratory infection 3%
  • Headache 1%
More Januvia side effects »
  • Yeast infection in women 8%
  • Urinary tract infections 2%
  • Increased urination 4%
  • Yeast infection in men 3%
  • Thirst 3%
  • Vaginal itching 2%
  • Constipation 1%
  • Abdominal pain 1%
More Invokana side effects »
  • Nausea 13%
  • Headache 4%
  • Diarrhea 6%
  • Low appetite 9%
  • Runny nose and congestion 1%
  • Head cold 1%
  • Vomiting 4%
  • Constipation 4%
  • Indigestion 3%
  • Back pain 1%
More Victoza side effects »
  • Upper respiratory tract infection 22%
  • Infection 9%
  • Accidental injury 6%
  • Headache 6%
  • Edema peripheral 20%
  • Hypertension 20%
  • Sinusitis 19%
  • Influenza 19%
  • Cataract 18%
  • Bronchitis 15%
More Lantus side effects »
How it works
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
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.Actos (pioglitazone) is a thiazolidinedione that improves your body's ability to use insulin to lower your blood sugar.Prandin (repaglinide) stimulates your body to produce more insulin.Precose (acarbose) stops an enzyme in your body from turning carbohydrates into sugar for energy. As a result, your body will absorb less sugar from the foods that you eat which will lead to lower blood sugar levels.Januvia (sitagliptin) is an anti-diabetic drug that enhances your body's release of insulin.Invokana (canagliflozin) is an anti-diabetes medication. It lowers blood sugar by causing your body to get rid of sugar in your urine.Victoza (liraglutide) is a medication for diabetes. It stimulates your body to make and release more insulin, stops the body from releasing more sugar, and slows down digestion.Lantus (Insulin Glargine) 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
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
Prescription onlyPrescription onlyPrescription onlyPrescription onlyPrescription onlyPrescription onlyPrescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
  • Pill
  • Extended release pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Injection
Used for
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
Risk factors for serious side effects
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Using contrast dye for procedures
  • Surgery
Detailed Glucophage (metformin) risks & warnings »
  • Heart failure
  • Current liver problems
  • History of bladder cancer
  • Women
Detailed Actos (pioglitazone) risks & warnings »
  • Alcoholism
  • Changes in meal pattern
  • Changes in exercise
  • Insulin
  • Other antidiabetic medications
Detailed Prandin (repaglinide) risks & warnings »
  • Using insulin or other medicines that stimulate insulin release
  • Those with kidney problems
  • Taking multiple medicines together
Detailed Precose (acarbose) risks & warnings »
  • History of pancreatitis
  • High blood triglyceride levels
  • Gallstones (stones in gallbladder)
  • History of alchoholism
  • Kidney problems
Detailed Januvia (sitagliptin) risks & warnings »
  • History of amputations 
  • Peripheral vascular disease (narrowed blood vessels)
  • Nerve problems
  • Diabetic foot ulcers 
  • History of kidney damage
Detailed Invokana (canagliflozin) risks & warnings »
  • History of MTC
  • History of MEN 2
  • History of pancreatitis
  • History of gallstones
  • alcoholism
Detailed Victoza (liraglutide) risks & warnings »
  • Insulin dose too high
  • Use of other blood sugar lowering medicines
  • Poor injection techniques
  • Unstable kidney functions
  • Unstable liver functions
Detailed Lantus (insulin glargine) 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.

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Interactions
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
No interactions related info.No interactions related info.No interactions related info.
  • Has relatively few interactions with other medicines.
No interactions related info.No interactions related info.No interactions related info.No interactions related info.
Alcohol
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
  • Limit or avoid alcohol when taking this medicine.
  • Excessive or chronic alcohol use can increase the risk of a dangerous side effect.
No alcohol related info.No alcohol related info.No alcohol related info.No alcohol related info.
  • Avoid if you are a heavy drinker of alcohol.
No alcohol related info.No alcohol related info.
Food
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
  • Always take it with food to lessen stomach upset.
  • Take once a day with or without food.
  • If you skip a meal, skip your dose to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
  • Quickly and effectively lowers blood sugar during meal times.
No food related info.
  • Take once a day in the morning with or without food.
  • Take once daily before your first meal of the day.
  • You only have to take Invokana (canagliflozin) once a day before meals.
No food related info.No food related info.
Kidneys and liver
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
  • 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.
  • Usually not a good choice for people with kidney problems. Your doctor will tell you if Glucophage (metformin) is right for you to take.
  • If you've had liver problems or damage in the past, talk to your doctor before starting Actos (pioglitazone), since there's a small chance that it can hurt your liver. Tell your doctor about any stomach pain that don't go away, dark urine, or yellowing of eyes/skin. Your doctor will check your liver regularly.
  • Not a good choice if you have poor kidney function, liver problems, or younger than 18 years old.
  • Precose (acarbose) is not a recommended treatment option if you have bad kidney function or kidney problems. Your doctor will have you do a blood test to decide if this is the right medicine for you.
  • Januvia (sitagliptin) can worsen kidney problems. Your doctor may check your kidney function before and during treatment. Your doctor may have to adjust the dose or stop this medicine based on changes in kidney function.
  • Not for people with severe kidney problems.
  • Victoza (liraglutide) can cause or worsen kidney damage. This is more likely to happen if you've had nausea or vomiting, diarrhea or dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated when you're sick. If you have kidney damage already, your doctor might do regular lab tests while you're taking Victoza (liraglutide) to make sure your kidneys stay healthy.
  • No limitation for people with kidney problems, but close monitoring is recommended.
  • Okay to use even if you have liver or kidney problems, unlike most other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
Pain
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
No pain related info.No pain related info.No pain related info.
  • Causes side effects usually during the first few weeks of treatment including stomach pain, excessive gas, and diarrhea that will become less bothersome with time.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you have severe stomach pain, nausea, and/or vomiting. These are symptoms of pancreatitis.
  • Rarely, Invokana (canagliflozin) can hurt the kidneys. This is more likely to happen if you already have kidney damage, heart failure, or take certain medicines for blood pressure or anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Invokana (canagliflozin) can also lower your blood pressure since it makes you urinate more. Your doctor will check your kidneys by blood tests regularly, and might ask you to change how you take Invokana (canagliflozin). Make sure to stay hydrated to prevent low blood pressure and kidney problems.
No pain related info.No pain related info.
Weight
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
  • Doesn't cause weight gain.
  • Can cause weight gain, headache, and swelling from fluid build-up.
  • Can cause weight gain.
  • May cause some weight gain.
  • Precose (acarbose) helps control meal-time blood sugar levels without causing weight gain.
  • It is less likely to cause weight gain and low blood sugar compared to other diabetes medicines.
No weight related info.
  • Helps with weight loss and controls appetite.
  • Can cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
  • Likely to cause moderate weight gain (around 4 to 6 pounds).
Upsides and benefits
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
  • 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.
  • Improves sugar control and lowers A1c levels by around 1%.
  • Easily taken by mouth as a once a day pill.
  • Prevents the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs.
  • Rarely causes low blood sugar.
  • Lower the risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • Quickly and effectively lowers blood sugar during meal times.
  • Less likely to cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) than Starlix (nateglinide).
  • Good first-choice if you cannot tolerate metformin or add-on therapy if your blood sugars are not controlled on metformin alone.
  • Precose (acarbose) helps control meal-time blood sugar levels without causing weight gain.
  • When used alone it doesn't normally cause blood sugar levels to be too low unlike other anti-diabetes medicines.
  • Safe to be used in people age 65 or older.
  • Has relatively few interactions with other medicines.
  • Oral blood sugar-lowering medicine.
  • Januvia (sitagliptin) is not linked to worsening heart failure like other medicines in its class.
  • Uses the hormones naturally produced by your body to affect how sugar is processed.
  • It is less likely to cause weight gain and low blood sugar compared to other diabetes medicines.
  • Lowers A1C (blood sugar) levels by 1%.
  • You only have to take Invokana (canagliflozin) once a day before meals.
  • Less likely to cause low blood sugar than other diabetes medicines.
  • Also available as a combination drug with metformin (Invokamet).
  • Lowers A1c (average blood sugar over time) up to 1.5%.
  • Helps with weight loss and controls appetite.
  • Only medicine in this class with proven heart health benefits.
  • No limitation for people with kidney problems, but close monitoring is recommended.
  • Medicine is ready to use, without need to mix.
  • 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.
  • Lantus 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
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
  • 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.
  • May take several weeks to lower blood sugar.
  • Can cause weight gain.
  • People with heart failure or history of bladder cancer shouldn't use this medicine.
  • Some people might get fluid accumulation (edema), from minor ankle swelling to fluid in lungs that makes it hard to breathe.
  • Raises the risk of bone fractures, especially for people who already have a risk for fractures.
  • May cause some weight gain.
  • May cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
  • Can frequently interfere with how other medicines work.
  • Not a good choice if you have poor kidney function, liver problems, or younger than 18 years old.
  • Not a first choice medicine because it isn't as effective at lowering blood sugar compared to other treatment options.
  • Associated with bothersome side effects like excessive gas and diarrhea.
  • Relatively more expensive than other diabetes medicines.
  • Has to be taken three times a day with each meal.
  • Might cause episodes of low blood sugar when taken together with insulin or medicines that stimulate insulin release.
  • Lowers A1c (average blood sugar over time) by less than 1%.
  • Available as brand version only.
  • Some people might get frequent cold-like symptoms.
  • Rare but serious side effects include pancreatitis and severe joint pain.
  • You're more likely to have broken bones, yeast infections and urinary tract infections with Invokana (canagliflozin).
  • There's a rare but serious risk of leg and foot amputations with Invokana (canagliflozin). Talk to your doctor if you develop new pain or infections in your feet.
  • Not for people with severe kidney problems.
  • Can raise your cholesterol.
  • Avoid if you are a heavy drinker of alcohol.
  • Only available as an injection.
  • Brand name medicine and can be expensive.
  • Compared to other similar medicines, you have to inject this every day.
  • 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
metforminActosPrandinPrecoseJanuviaInvokanaVictozaLantus
  • 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.
  • Take once a day with or without food.
  • May need several weeks to see full effect on blood sugar control.
  • Can cause weight gain, headache, and swelling from fluid build-up.
  • Tell your doctor about any shortness of breath, heart troubles, or unusual swelling.
  • Not recommended for patients with a history of heart failure or bladder cancer.
  • Check your blood sugar regularly.
  • Works quickly to lower blood sugar so should be taken 15 to 30 minutes before a meal.
  • If you skip a meal, skip your dose to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
  • Maintain a regular diet and exercise schedule while on this medicine to prevent fluctuations in your blood sugar.
  • Take Precose (acarbose) with the first bite of each main meal.
  • Don't take the medicine for the times you have skipped a meal.
  • Causes side effects usually during the first few weeks of treatment including stomach pain, excessive gas, and diarrhea that will become less bothersome with time.
  • You should continue to maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and monitor your blood sugar levels while taking Precose (acarbose).
  • Your doctor will work with you to increase your dose gradually.
  • Carry glucose tablets with you at all times so that you can take them when your blood sugar drops to dangerously low levels. This is more likely to happen if you are also using insulin or a medicine that stimulates insulin release.
  • Take once a day in the morning with or without food.
  • Can cause headache and cold-like symptoms.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you have severe stomach pain, nausea, and/or vomiting. These are symptoms of pancreatitis.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you are experiencing severe joint pain.
  • Check your blood sugar regularly to check for low blood sugar.
  • Take once daily before your first meal of the day.
  • Invokana (canagliflozin) can cause you to urinate more, so be sure to stay hydrated.
  • Can cause genital yeast infections in females and males.
  • Can cause urinary tract infections (UTI).
  • Can cause low blood sugar, so make sure to check your blood sugar if you don't feel well.
  • You should continue to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and take your other diabetes medicines along with Invokana (canagliflozin).
  • Inject the dose given by your doctor daily at the same time on your belly, thighs, or the back of your upper arm. To be used with or without food.
  • You may have low appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain, which may get better with time.
  • Let your doctor know if you have severe and/or persistent stomach pain or nausea with or without vomiting.
  • Unused pens should be stored in the refrigerator, but the pen in use can be kept at room temperature for up to 30 days.
  • 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 ActosSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
Have you used Actos (pioglitazone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about PrandinSide effectsFDA package insert
Have you used Prandin (repaglinide)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about PrecoseSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
Have you used Precose (acarbose)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about JanuviaSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
Have you used Januvia (sitagliptin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about InvokanaSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
Have you used Invokana (canagliflozin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about VictozaSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
Have you used Victoza (liraglutide)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about LantusSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
Have you used Lantus (insulin glargine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it