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Why do I need Glucophage?

Glucophage (metformin) is one of six types of diabetes pills currently available to treat type 2 diabetes. It helps keep your blood glucose within your target range.

Remember, the cornerstone of diabetes control remains unchanged; it is important to follow a meal plan and get plenty of physical activity. Diabetes pills are simply another tool to help you manage your blood glucose.

How does Glucophage work?

Guidelines for use

What should I do if I forget to take my dose?

If you have forgotten to take your diabetes pills you may take them provided it has been less than 2 hours from your dosage time. If it is more than 2 hours, contact your healthcare provider. Do not take 2 doses at the next meal. If you miss a dose, note it in your record book.

Can I take Glucophage with other medicines?

Most medicines interact safely with Glucophage. However, always remind your healthcare provider what medicines you are taking and when there is a change in your medications, so that (s)he can make sure the combination is safe. Ask if the new medication will affect your diabetes.

What are the side effects of Glucophage?

Minor side effects usually go away after your body gets used to taking the medicine for several weeks, and may include  mild diarrhea, nausea, or upset stomach.

Taking Glucophage with meals can lessen side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you experience severe discomfort or if the side effects last longer than a few weeks.

Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) is less likely to occur when Glucophage is taken alone. Hypoglycemia may occur when Glucophage is taken in combination with insulin, sulfonylurea agents, Prandin, or Starlix. (Sulfonylurea agents, Prandin and Starlix are other types of diabetes pills.)

Major side effects are very rare and occur mostly in people whose kidneys or liver are not working normally. The most serious side effect is lactic acidosis. It may be life threatening. Your healthcare provider will check your kidney and liver function to determine if you are at risk.

Are there situations where it is necessary to temporarily stop taking Glucophage?

Yes, there are situations that may affect your kidneys or liver function and thus put you at risk for developing lactic acidosis. To reduce this risk, your healthcare provider may need to stop the medication for a period of time. It is important that your healthcare provider know when the following problems or situations occur:

Who should NOT take Glucophage?

How will I know if it is working?

Check your blood glucose at the times specified by your healthcare provider. If your blood glucose or A1C is within target most of the time, the dose is working. If not, review the amount and types of food eaten or whether you have forgotten to take the right dose of your medication. If glucose remains high for a few weeks, contact your healthcare provider. A change in dose may be needed.

For more information, you may want to purchase our book What You Need to Know About Diabetes, which can be ordered online.

Page last updated: October 15, 2019