Generic Name: Metformin hydrochloride
Product Name: Glucophage
Metformin is a blood sugar lowering agent, used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults, when dietary management and exercise alone do not result in adequate control.
Metformin is a drug that has a mode of action that is complex and not completely understood. Metformin works by increasing the uptake of glucose (sugar) by the muscles of the body, and it also has effects on the absorption of glucose, and the production of glucose by the liver. Therefore in doing so it decreases blood glucose levels.
It is important that the tablets are taken in divided doses with meals. The recommended starting dose of Metformin is 500mg, taken once or twice a day and, if necessary, increased over a few weeks up to 1g three times per day. Your doctor will tell you if you need to increase the dose. 500mg three times a day is often sufficient to obtain diabetic control. The maximum recommended daily dose is 1g three times per day. Once control has been obtained, the dosage should be reviewed and reduced to the lowest maintenance level consistent with good diabetic control.
Common side effects
The most common side effects from therapy with Metformin are mild gastrointestinal symptoms (such as diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting), especially during the initial phase of treatment. These symptoms are generally short-lived and resolve spontaneously with continued treatment. These side effects can be minimized if Metformin is taken with meals and the dosage increased slowly. A metallic taste in the mouth is also a very common side effect.
Uncommon side effects
A condition called lactic acidosis can sometimes occur in people taking Metformin. Lactic acidosis is a rare but serious metabolic complication which can occur due to the accumulation of Metformin during treatment. Lactic acidosis is a medical emergency and must be treated in hospital immediately. The risk of lactic acidosis increases with the degree of renal dysfunction and the patient’s age.
Decreased vitamin B12 absorption has also been reported in some cases, this can be managed via supplementation.
For further information talk to your doctor.