Metformin is an anti diabetic medicine that is prescribed along with other medication and a proper diet and exercise program for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It reduces the amount of sugar produced by the liver and absorbed by the intestines.
However, your doctor may also prescribe Metformin for other conditions if found appropriate.
How to use Metformin
The ideal way to use Metformin is to follow the instructions of your doctor. An alternative way is to check the medicine label for dosage instructions.
Preferably, Metformin should be taken at the same time each day to help maintain a regular routine for taking it.
You must not stop taking Metformin without consulting your doctor even if you attain relief after a short while post starting treatment.
Drug Class and Mechanism
Metformin is an anti diabetic medicine that reduces the amount of sugar produced by the liver and absorbed by the intestines.
It is important that you maintain a strict schedule for taking Metformin to ensure that you do not miss any doses. But if you do, then you may take it as soon as you remember provided that you space out the next dosage accordingly.
On the other hand, if it is almost time for the next dose, then omit this dose and continue with your normal dosage schedule.
Never consume two doses to compensate for a missed dosage.
Store Metformin between 59 to 77 degrees F (15 and 25 Degrees), at room temperature. Ensure that you protect it from direct exposure to heat/moisture/light and from the reach of children and pets.
Avoid storing Metformin in the bathroom.
Consult your doctor before using Metformin if you have any kind of allergies to food items, medicines or other substances, if you are using some kind of herbal preparation, dietary supplement, prescription or non prescription drug.
Carry an ID card on your person that says that you have diabetes.
Do not use Metformin if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in it (read medicine label if unsure), you have congestive heart failure that is treated by medicine; you have a severe infection, low blood oxygen levels, kidney or liver problems, high blood ketone or acid levels (e.g., diabetic ketoacidosis), or severe dehydration; you have had a stroke or a recent heart attack, or you are in shock; you are 80 years old or older and have not had a kidney function test; you will be having surgery or certain lab procedures.
You must avoid taking alcoholic beverages while using Metformin as it can increase the chances of becoming drowsy, faint or dizzy. Potentially hazardous tasks like driving, handling heavy machinery should also be avoided.
If you are pregnant or have plans for a pregnancy, then consult your doctor before using Metformin as Metformin may harm your fetus.
If you are breast feeding then please maintain caution as it is unknown whether Metformin is passed into the breast milk. So please consult your doctor prior to using it.
Metformin may affect your blood sugar level so please monitor your blood sugar under the supervision of your doctor. The chances of low blood sugar happening increases manifold if you skip a meal or exercise heavily. carry a reliable source of glucose (e.g., tablets or gel) to treat low blood sugar. If this is not available, you should eat or drink a quick source of sugar like table sugar, honey, candy, orange juice, or non-diet soda. This will raise your blood sugar level quickly. Tell your doctor right away if this happens.
You must inform your doctor or your dentist about Metformin before you undergo treatment or any emergency surgery.
You may be required to undergo certain lab tests including kidney function, fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, and blood counts while taking Metformin. These tests are prescribed to monitor the progress as well as the severity of side effects. Please do not miss any lab appointments.
Metformin is known to make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. So excessive sun exposure without using protection (sunscreen or protective clothing) or exposure to tanning booths and sunlamps must be avoided.
Please maintain caution while using Metformin in children below 12 years of age/elderly patients as the safety as well as effectiveness of Metformin in these patients are yet to be ascertained.
Please maintain caution while using Metformin in elderly patients as they may be more prone to its side effects.
Please remember that Metformin does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases like HIV or against an unwanted pregnancy.