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Other drug names: A-Am An-Az B C-Ch Ci-Cz D-Dh Di-Dz E F G H I-J K-L M-Mh Mi-Mz N-Nh Ni-Nz O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q-R S-Sn So-Sz T-To Tp-Tz U-V W-Z 0-9   

Metformin

IMPORTANT WARNING:

Metformin may rarely cause a serious condition called lactic acidosis. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease, heart failure treated by medication, or sepsis. Do not drink large amounts of alcohol or binge drink while taking metformin. If you have a radiologic procedure and are injected with contrast materials (urogram, cholangiography, angiography, CT scan), tell the doctor that you are taking metformin. You will have to stop taking metformin from before the procedure until at least 48 hours after the procedure. Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to metformin. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: severe shortness of breath, excessive tiredness, muscle aches, stomach pain after you have been taking metformin for a while, cold feeling, dizziness, or slow heart beats.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Metformin is used to treat type 2 (noninsulin-dependent) diabetes (formerly 'adult-onset'). Metformin helps your body to regulate the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. It decreases the amount of glucose you get from your diet and the amount made by your liver; it also increases your body's sensitivity to insulin. Metformin is not used to treat type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes (formerly 'juvenile-onset').

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

Metformin comes in tablets to take by mouth. It usually is taken two or three times a day with meals. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take metformin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Metformin extended-release tablets should be swallowed whole. Do not break, chew, or crush.

Continue to take metformin even if you feel well. Do not stop taking metformin without talking to your doctor.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking metformin,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to metformin or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially cimetidine (Tagamet), diuretics ('water pills'), nifedipine (Procardia), and vitamins.
  • in addition to the conditions listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart, pituitary, or thyroid disease; adrenal insufficiency; a severe infection; or hormone problems.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking metformin, call your doctor.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking metformin.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Be sure to follow all exercise and dietary recommendations made by your doctor or dietitian. It is important to eat a healthful diet. Alcohol increases blood sugar; ask your doctor for information on how much is safe to drink.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Before you start to take metformin, ask your doctor what you should do if you forget to take a dose. Write down these directions so you can refer to them later.

As a general rule, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it unless it is almost time for the next dose. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Although side effects from metformin are not common, they can occur. If you have any of these symptoms, eat or drink a food or beverage with sugar in it, such as hard candy or fruit juice, and call your doctor immediately; symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) include:

  • shakiness
  • dizziness
  • rapid heartbeat
  • sweating or confusion
  • blurred vision
  • headache
  • numbness or tingling of the mouth
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • pale color
  • sudden hunger

If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately; symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include:

  • thirst
  • dry mouth
  • tiredness
  • flushing
  • dry skin
  • frequent urination
  • loss of appetite
  • trouble breathing

If you experience any of the following symptoms, or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:

  • seizures
  • loss of consciousness
  • skin rash
  • itching or redness
  • exaggerated sunburn
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • light-colored stools
  • dark urine
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • fever
  • sore throat

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to metformin.

To monitor the effectiveness of metformin, measure the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood or urine (when blood sugar is above a certain high level, you will have sugar in your urine). For these measurements, you will need special paper tapes, tablets, or plastic strips that change color depending on how much sugar is present. You also can use a blood glucose meter to measure the amount of sugar in your blood. Your doctor also may ask you to test your urine for ketones (substances present when diabetes is not under control). Follow your doctor's directions for testing your urine and blood and for recording the results. If your blood sugar is high or if sugar or ketones are present in your urine, call your doctor.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT
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