Glucophage Medication - Uses & Side Effects
METFORMIN (Glucophage®) is a medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. Treatment is combined with a balanced diet and exercise. This medicine lowers blood sugar and helps your body to use insulin more efficiently. It is sometimes used with other medicines for diabetes. Generic metformin tablets are available. Glucophage is an oral antidiabetic medication used to treat type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes. Diabetes develops when the body proves unable to burn sugar and the unused sugar builds up in the bloodstream. Glucophage lowers the amount of sugar in your blood by decreasing sugar production and absorption and helping your body respond better to its own insulin, which promotes the burning of sugar. It does not, however, increase the body's production of insulin. Glucophage is sometimes prescribed along with insulin or certain other oral antidiabetic drugs such as Micronase or Glucotrol. It is also used alone. Standard Glucophage tablets are taken two or three times daily. An extended-release form (Glucophage XR) is available for once-daily dosing.
- The usual starting dose is one 500-milligram tablet twice a day, taken with morning and evening meals. Your doctor may increase your daily dose by 500 milligrams at weekly intervals, based on your response up to a total of 2,000 milligrams.
- For children 10 to 16 years old, the usual starting dose is one 500-milligram tablet twice a day with meals. The dosage may be increased by 500 milligrams at weekly intervals up to a maximum of 2,000 milligrams daily. Glucophage has not been tested in children younger than 10.
Uses of Glucophage
- Glucophage is used to regulate blood glucose (sugar) levels. Glucophage works in three ways: first, it reduces the amount of glucose produced by your liver; second, it reduces the amount of glucose absorbed from food through your stomach; and third, it makes the insulin that your body produces work better to reduce the amount of glucose already in your blood.
- Glucophage is used to treat non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
- Glucophage may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
Side Effects of Glucophage
If side effects from Glucophage occur, they usually happen during the first few weeks of therapy. Most side effects are minor and will go away after you've taken Glucophage for a while. Side effects may include:
- Abdominal discomfort
Warnings and precautions before taking Glucophage:
- Before you start therapy with Glucophage, and at least once a year thereafter, your doctor will do a complete assessment of your kidney function. If you develop kidney problems while on Glucophage, your doctor will discontinue Glucophage. If you are an older person, you will need to have your kidney function monitored more frequently, and your doctor may want to start you at a lower dosage.
- You should not take Glucophage for 2 days before and after having an X-ray procedure (such as an angiogram) that uses an injectable dye. Also, if you are going to have surgery, except minor surgery, you should stop taking Glucophage. Once you have resumed normal food and fluid intake, your doctor will tell you when you can start drug therapy again.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol while taking Glucophage. Heavy drinking increases the danger of lactic acidosis and can also trigger an attack of low blood sugar.
- Because poor liver function could increase the risk of lactic acidosis, your doctor may decide to check your liver function before prescribing Glucophage and periodically thereafter. If you develop liver problems, your doctor may stop treatment with Glucophage.
- If you are taking Glucophage, you should check your blood or urine periodically for abnormal sugar (glucose) levels. Your doctor will do annual blood checks to see if Glucophage is causing a vitamin B12 deficiency or any other blood problem.
- Glucophage does not usually cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). However, it remains a possibility, especially in older, weak, and undernourished people and those with kidney, liver, adrenal, or pituitary gland problems. The risk of low blood sugar increases when Glucophage is combined with other diabetes medications. The risk is also boosted by missed meals, alcohol, and excessive exercise. To avoid low blood sugar, you should closely follow the diet and exercise plan suggested by your doctor.
- If your blood sugar becomes unstable due to the stress of a fever, injury, infection, or surgery, your doctor may temporarily take you off Glucophage and ask you to take insulin instead.
Drug Interaction :- If Glucophage is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Glucophage with the following:
- Amiloride (Moduretic)
- Calcium channel blockers (heart medications) such as Calan, Isoptin, and Procardia
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Decongestant, airway-opening drugs such as Sudafed and Ventolin
- Digoxin (Lanoxin)
- Estrogens such as Premarin
- Furosemide (Lasix)
- Glyburide (Micronase)
- Isoniazid (Rifamate), a drug used for tuberculosis
- Major tranquilizers such as Thorazine
- Niacin (Niaspan)
- Nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia)
An overdose of Glucophage can cause lactic acidosis (see "Most important fact about Glucophage"). If you suspect a Glucophage overdose, seek emergency treatment immediately. An overdose of Glucophage is likely to cause lactic acidosis. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include a feeling of general discomfort or sickness; weakness; sore or aching muscles; trouble breathing; unusual drowsiness, dizziness or lightheadedness; unusual or unexplained stomach upset (after the initial stomach upset that may occur at the start of therapy with Glucophage); and the sudden development of a slow or irregular heartbeat