Metformin is the generic name of the medicine that is prescribed in treating high blood sugar levels. Metformin is generally prescribed in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. This medicine is prescribed as a part of other medication and along with proper exercise and controlled diet.
Metformin – Brief Overview
Metformin belongs to the group of drugs that lower blood sugar which are called oral hypoglycemics, used in people with type 2 diabetes and patients suffering from PCOS called as Polycystic ovary syndrome. Metformin may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, metallic taste in mouth, Vitamin B12 deficiency etc. Consult your doctor if these symptoms persist or worsen.
Inform your doctor if you are allergic to metformin or if you are suffering from kidney related, liver-related health issues, diabetic ketoacidosis, lactic acidosis etc and if you are using any medication for any other health issues to avoid drug interactions. Pregnant women and breastfeeding women should consult your doctor before taking Metformin.
Metformin – Detailed Overview
Table of content
- About Metformin
- Metformin mechanism of action
- Metformin Uses
- Metformin Side effects
- Contraindications of Metformin
- Metformin Dosage and Directions for use
- Precautions while using Metformin
- Metformin – Drug Interactions
- Branded medicine of Metformin in India
Metformin is a prescription medicine used widely to treat type 2 diabetes particularly for patients who are overweight. Other than type 2 diabetes Metformin is also prescribed to treat polycystic ovary syndrome
Initial discovery of Metformin was done in the year 1922. But Metformin was first introduced as medicine by France in the year 1957 and was introduced in the United States in the year 1995. 
Metformin is the most common and widely prescribed medication to treat type 2 diabetes.
Metformin mechanism of action
Metformin works by lowering the production of glucose by the liver and also helps in increasing the sensitivity of the body towards insulin and delay glucose absorption by the intestine. All these actions lead to lower blood glucose levels.
Metformin Uses and Benefits
Metformin Tablet is used in treating, controlling, prevention, and improvement of the below mentioned conditions, symptoms, and diseases
- Type 2 diabetes
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Metformin for PCOS
The main reason behind the use of Metformin for PCOS is the presence of high insulin levels in women suffering from PCOS and they have more chances of developing diabetes. Also, daily exercise along with healthy nutrition is recommended in such women and Metformin medication is already known to help control diabetes with controlled diet and regular exercise.
Metformin benefits by –
- Improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin
- Slowing down glucose production from the liver
- Slows down the absorption of glucose in the gut
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Metformin Side effects
The following is a list of possible side effects that may occur from Metformin. The below mentioned are possible side effects and they may not occur always and for everybody who uses this medicine. It is advised to consult your doctor immediately, particularly if any of the below mentioned side effects are noticed and if they don’t calm down. The Common side effects of Metformin include:
- Stomach discomfort or flatulence
- Gas Formation in the stomach
- Lack of energy
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- May result in VitB-12 Deficiency
- May result in little amount of weight loss
Contraindications of Metformin
Health Conditions where Metformin is contraindicated and proper medical advice have to be taken while using Metformin are listed below. It is always advisable to consult the doctor before using Metformin in such health conditions.
- Hypersensitivity to Metformin
- Kidney related health issues
- Diabetic ketoacidosis – (Diabetic ketoacidosis is a condition where there is a presence of ketones in the urine along with diabetes)
- Lactic acidosis (A medical condition caused due to problem in oxidative metabolism of the body and an excessively low level of pH is formed in the bloodstream)
Metformin Dosage and Directions for use
Metformin is available in the market as Metformin rapid release tablets and Metformin extended-release tablets. Your doctor decides which one suits you depending on your medical condition.
Dosage of Metformin depends on patient’s medical condition and other medication that he or she may be using. Hence a close observation by the expert is needed. Please consult your doctor for further guidance on dosage instruction.
Taking more than prescribed dose of Metformin may cause harmful side effects. Read the label carefully before using this medicine to avoid overdosage. It is advised to consult the doctor immediately if any side effects are noticed.
If you miss a certain dose of Metformin, take it sooner possible, and if it’s nearing next schedule, skip the missed dosage and continue with the next regular schedule. Never take an extra dose. It is advised to maintain regular timings in using medicine.
Precautions while using Metformin
If you use other over the counter products or other drugs at the same time, the effects of Metformin may change. This may increase your risk for side-effects or the medicine may not work properly. Inform your doctor about any prescription and non-prescription drugs, nutritional supplements, vitamins, and herbal products you might be using or planning to use so that your doctor can help you prevent or manage the drug interactions.
Some health conditions may make you more susceptible to the side-effects of this drug. Use this medicine exactly as directed by your physician. The amount of dose to be taken is based on your condition. It is advised to consult the doctor immediately if the conditions persist or worsen. Some of the key counseling points are listed below:
Inform your doctor if you have –
- Allergic to Metformin
- Other allergies
- Respiratory issues such as asthma or obstructive lung disease
- Blood-related issues like Vit B 12 deficiency or anemia
- Kidney health issues
- Liver health issues
- Heavy alcohol consumption habit
- If planning any surgery in near future
- Suffering from High fever
- Prolonged diarrhea or vomiting
- Any injury
- Breastfeeding women should consult your doctor before taking Metformin as it passes into the breast milk in small amounts
Metformin Drug Interactions
Other medicines may change the action of Metformin or increase the risk of side effects. Inform your doctor about any other medicines for other health issues or any herbal medicines you are currently using or planning to use in the future
Branded medicine of Metformin in India
Below mentioned are some branded medicine available in India with Metformin as a key ingredient. Metformin is available in 2 variants
- Metormin 500 mg Tablet – manufactured by Galpha Laboratories Ltd
- Glyciphage Tablet – manufactured by Franco-Indian Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd
- Gluformin 500 Tablet – manufactured by Abbott
- Metatime 500 Tablet – manufactured by Mankind Pharma Ltd
- Okamet 500 Tablet – manufactured by Cipla Ltd
- X Met 500 Tablet – manufactured by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd
- Melmet 500 Tablet – manufactured by Micro Labs Ltd
- Baymet Tablet – manufactured by Bayer (India) Ltd
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Dr. Alekhya is an experienced dental surgeon with over five years of clinical experience in prestigious dental clinics in Hyderabad, India. She graduated as a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) from MNR Dental College in 2012.
Dr. Alekhya has also been involved with notable campaigns and health awareness programs. She is presently employed with Immertive where she supervises the development of virtual reality and augmented reality based applications for training healthcare professionals. In addition to following her career, Dr. Alekhya is very passionate about sharing her knowledge as a guest contributor on various health-related publications including HealthClues.