Glucophage

(metformin)

3.7/ 5 average rating with 938 reviewsformetformin
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Lowers blood sugar.

Skip Upsides & Downsides section. Skip to side effects section.

Our bottom line

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.

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Quick facts about metformin
  • Drug class: Endocrine
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (metformin)

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.
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What to expect from metformin, on one page

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People’s experience with metformin

938reviews so far. What do you think?

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.
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What to expect from metformin, on one page

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How it works

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.

Quick facts about metformin
  • Drug class: Endocrine
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (metformin)

Used for

Dosage forms

  • Pill
  • Extended release pill
  • Liquid
People’s experience with metformin

938reviews so far. What do you think?

Prices and coupons

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What to expect when you take Glucophage (metformin) for Type 2 diabetes

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  • First few hoursHours
    First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
  • Effectiveness
  • Starts to kick in
    Full effects
  • First few hoursHours
    First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
  • Possible side effects
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Gas
  • Weakness
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach pain
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Side effect rates for Glucophage (metformin)

From 286 clinical trials of metformin when taken for type 2 diabetes
  • Diarrhea
    53%53%
    12%12%
  • Nausea/vomiting
    26%26%
    8%8%
  • Gas
    12%12%
    6%6%
  • Weakness
    9%9%
    6%6%
  • Indigestion
    7%7%
    4%4%
  • Stomach pain
    6%6%
    5%5%
  • Headache
    6%6%
    5%5%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of metformin.

Glucophage (metformin)
Placebo

People taking metformin felt side effect more

People taking metformin felt side effect less

No difference

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 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.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

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

Common concerns from people taking Glucophage (metformin)

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Pregnancy

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

Tip: Always talk with your doctor before you take any medication while pregnant.
FDA pregnancy category for metformin
BProbably safe
Interactions
  • Not worth it
    Low hassle
    Reviewed metforminon 8/26/2017Make sure interactions are checked.
    40
    Man
    A couple weeks
    Type 2 diabetes
Alcohol
  • Limit or avoid alcohol when taking this medicine.
  • Excessive or chronic alcohol use can increase the risk of a dangerous side effect.
Food
  • Always take it with food to lessen stomach upset.
  • Worth it
    Big hassle
    Reviewed metforminon 1/29/2017Due to diarrhea, I find it helps to take it after main meals. i take 1 in the morning after breakfast, and take 1 after evening meal.
    58
    Woman
    Type 2 diabetes
  • Worth it
    Low hassle
    Reviewed metforminon 7/18/2016Always take it after meals to minimize the side effects, diarrhea and nausea can overwhelm you in the first couple of weeks.
    29
    Man
    Type 2 diabetes
Kidneys and liver
  • 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.
Sleep
  • Not worth it
    Big hassle
    Reviewed metforminon 8/2/2017If you have the problem I had you learn to sleep on a towel so that when you mess your pants it doesn't get on the bed.
    59
    Man
    Two years or more
    Type 2 diabetes
Weight
  • Doesn't cause weight gain.