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METFORMIN HCL
METFORMIN - ORAL

Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.

METFORMIN - ORAL

(met-FOR-min)

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Glucophage

WARNING: Metformin can rarely cause a condition called lactic acidosis, which can be fatal. Seek immediate medication attention if you develop any of the following symptoms of lactic acidosis: unusual tiredness (fatigue) or severe drowsiness, cold skin, muscle pain, breathing trouble or rapid breathing, unusually slow or irregular heartbeat. Lactic acidosis is more likely to occur in patients who have: kidney or liver disease, conditions that may cause a low oxygen blood level or poor circulation (e.g., severe congestive heart failure, recent heart attack, recent stroke), excessive alcohol use, a lack of body fluids (dehydration), X-ray or scanning procedures that require an injectable iodinated contrast drug, surgery, or a serious infection. Also at higher risk are those who are elderly, especially if you are over 80 years of age and have not had kidney and liver tests.

Uses

This medication is a biguanide-type medicine that is used along with a diet and exercise program to control high blood sugar in diabetic patients. This medication works by helping to restore your body's proper response to the insulin you naturally produce, and by decreasing the amount of sugar that your liver makes and that your stomach/intestines absorb. Controlling high blood sugar helps prevent heart disease, strokes, kidney disease, blindness and circulation problems, as well as decreased sexual ability (impotence).

How To Use

This medication is best taken by mouth with meals. Drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time(s) each day. Your dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. This medication may come with a Patient Information Leaflet. Read it carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions you may have about your medication.

Side Effects

Also see Warning section. Nausea, stomach upset, diarrhea or metallic taste may occur initially as your body adjusts to the medication. If stomach symptoms recur later (after you are on the same dose for several days or weeks), tell your doctor immediately. A late recurrence of stomach symptoms may be due to lactic acidosis. This medication usually does not cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), but this effect may occur if you do not consume enough calories (from food, juices, fruit, etc.). The symptoms include chills, cold sweat, dizziness, drowsiness, shaking, rapid heartbeat, weakness, headache, fainting, tingling of the hands or feet, or hunger. It is a good habit to carry glucose tablets or gel to treat low blood sugar. If you are in a situation where you don't have these reliable forms of glucose, eat a quick source of sugar such as table sugar, honey, or candy, or drink a glass of orange juice or non-diet soda to quickly raise your blood sugar level. Tell your doctor immediately about the reaction. To help prevent hypoglycemia, eat meals on a regular schedule and do not skip meals. Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing, or fruity breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor immediately. Your medication dosage may need to be increased. An allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: kidney disease, liver disease, conditions that may cause a low oxygen blood level or poor circulation (e.g., severe congestive heart failure, recent heart attack, recent stroke), metabolic acidosis (e.g., diabetic ketoacidosis), serious infection, lack of body fluids (dehydration). Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: severe breathing problems (e.g., obstructive lung disease, severe asthma), blood problems (e.g., anemia, vitamin B-12 deficiency), scheduled upcoming surgery, scheduled upcoming x-ray or scanning procedures, fertility problems (e.g., ovulation problems), alcohol use, any allergies. Limit alcohol while using this medication. During times of stress, such as fever, infection, injury or surgery, it may be more difficult to control your blood sugar. Consult your doctor, as a change in your medication may be required. This medication can cause changes in the menstrual cycle (promote ovulation) in women with certain fertility problems, increasing the risk of becoming pregnant. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about the use of reliable birth control while using this medication. Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug. This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Breast-feeding is not recommended while using this drug.

Drug Interactions

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription products you may use, especially of: birth control pills, high blood pressure drugs (beta-blockers such as propranolol, calcium channel blockers such as nifedipine, ACE inhibitors such as captopril), cimetidine, clomiphene, corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone), decongestants, other diabetes drugs (e.g., glyburide, insulin), estrogens, fenugreek, ginseng, isoniazid, niacin, phenothiazines (e.g., chlorpromazine), phenytoin, thyroid drugs, "water pills" (diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide). If you are scheduled to undergo any x-ray or scanning procedure using injectable iodinated contrast material, be sure to inform your doctor that you are taking this medication. You will need to temporarily stop this medication around the time of your procedure. Consult your doctor for further instructions. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include: rapid or trouble breathing, severe drowsiness, slow or irregular heartbeat.

Notes

Do not share this medication with others. It is recommended you attend a diabetes education program to understand diabetes and all the important aspects of its treatment including meals/diet, exercise, personal hygiene, medications and getting regular eye, foot, and medical exams. Consult your doctor or pharmacist. Keep all medical appointments. Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., liver and kidney function tests, fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, complete blood counts) will be performed to monitor for side effects and response to therapy. Regularly check your blood or urine for sugar, as directed by your doctor or pharmacist.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Storage

Store the U.S. product between 68-77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Brief storage from 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) is permitted. Do not store in the bathroom. Store the Canadian product between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C). Keep all medicines away from children and pets.

Medical Alert

Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For enrollment information call MedicAlert at 1-800-854-1166 (USA), or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).