Compare metformin vs. Afrezza

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

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Glucophage (metformin)

Prescription only

Afrezza (insulin)

Prescription only
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.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 938 reviewsformetformin
Controls mealtime blood sugar.

Afrezza (insulin) is effective at controlling blood sugar, but you can't use it if you've had lung problems or smoke.

Upsides
  • 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.
  • Afrezza (insulin) is as effective as other mealtime insulin products.
  • Starts working faster and stays in your body for a shorter time than other mealtime insulin products, so you're less likely to have severely low blood sugar.
  • If you don't like needles, Afrezza (insulin) is a good alternative since you inhale it.
  • Safe to use in people 65 or older.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about ways to lower your copay, such as coupons.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • Not recommended if you're a smoker or if you've smoked in the last 6 months.
  • Afrezza (insulin) only comes in 3 different strengths, so it can be inconvenient if you need a lot of insulin.
  • Not recommended in children under 18.
  • If you're pregnant, you'll need to talk to your doctor before you start Afrezza (insulin).
  • There is no generic available, and may not be covered right away by Medicare or other insurances.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Extended release pill
  • Liquid
  • Inhalation powder
Price
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Reviews
938 reviews so far
65%
saidit'sworth it
46%
saiditworked well
16%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
7possible side effects
  • Diarrhea
    53%
  • Nausea/vomiting
    26%
  • Gas
    12%
  • Weakness
    9%
  • Indigestion
    7%
  • Stomach pain
    6%
  • Headache
    6%
See more detailed side effects
6possible side effects
  • Cough
    28%
  • Throat pain or irritation
    6%
  • Headache
    5%
  • Worsening lung function test
    3%
  • Airway inflammation
    3%
  • Urinary tract infection
    2%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Excess lactic acid in the blood
    • Kidney problems
    • Liver problems
    • Congestive heart failure
    • Using contrast dye for procedures
    • Surgery
    • Alcohol use
  • Low vitamin B12 levels
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Low blood sugar
    • Changes in diet and exercise
    • Drinking alcohol
    • Taking other medications for diabetes
    • Over age 65
    • Liver or kidney problems
  • Breathing problems
    • Asthma
    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
    • Other long term lung problems
  • Low blood potassium levels
    • Taking laxatives
    • Taking medications that increase urination
  • Worsening lung function
    • Smoking
    • Second-hand smoke
    • Indoor and outdoor pollution
    • Work-related fume and chemical exposure
  • Fluid buildup
    • Taking Avandia or Actos
  • Too much acid in the blood
    • Type 1 diabetes
    • Long periods of fasting
    • Alchohol abuse
    • History of pancreatitis
See more detailed risks and warnings