Glucophage (metformin hydrochloride)
General information on Glucophage
Glucophage, with active ingredient metformin, belongs to a class of drugs known as biguanide drugs. The drug is used for treating Type 2 diabetes, which is an insulin independent form of diabetes. The drug works by reducing the amount of glucose ion the blood, reducing the amount of sugar absorbed by the body and also increasing the receptiveness of insulin receptors, hence lowering blood glucose levels.
Precautions/side effects of Glucophage
Glucophage has the active ingredient metformin. Patients allergic to metformin should refrain using this drug. Other than that, patients with diabetic ketoacidosis should also refrain from using this drug. Patients with kidney disease, liver disease or heart disease should take this drug only after consultation with a doctor.
Glucophage is also known to react with certain medications such as quinidine, digoxin, morphine, vancomycin or nifedipine. Patients on any of these drugs should inform a physician before taking Glucophage. Medications which are known to increase blood glucose levels such as oral contraceptives, steroids, blood thinners like warfarin and medications used for treating thyroid disorder should be taken after consultation with a doctor while taking Glucophage to prevent high blood glucose.
Glucophage is a Category B pregnancy drug. It may have adverse effects on the fetus as well as the newborn. Thus, pregnant women as well as women who are breastfeeding should take Glucophage only after consulting a physician.
Glucophage is also known to have certain side effects such as nausea, pain in the muscles, lethargy, tiredness or diarrhea. However, in some cases, serious side effects may show up to the drug such as unexplained weight gain or weight loss, pain in the abdomen, breathlessness, irregular heartbeat, flu like symptoms or numbness in the arms or feet. If any of these symptoms show up after taking Glucophage, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Important safety information
- Consumption of alcohol should be avoided while taking this drug. Alcohol consumption while taking Glucophage increases the risk of lactic acidosis.
- Glucophage should temporarily be stopped a few days prior to undergoing any kind of X-Ray, CT scan or other medical procedures which involve insertion of a dye in the veins.
- Glucophage is not meant for use in children younger than 10 years.
- It is important o follow a healthy lifestyle and keep the weight in check to gain maximum benefit from Glucophage.
Dosage of Glucophage
Glucophage is available as 500 mg, 850 mg and 1000 mg tablets. The usual dosage of the drug is 500 mg twice daily, which is subsequently increased to 2000 mg daily over the next few weeks. However, the actual dosage of the drug may differ depending on the diagnosis and the response of the patient.
Glucophage is to be taken with meals. Overdose of the drug should always be avoided. If a dose is missed, it should be had as soon as possible. However, it should not be clubbed with the next dose. Overdose of the drug can lead to severe conditions such as vomiting, breathlessness, irregular heartbeat or numbness which require immediate medical attention.
Storage of Glucophage
Glucophage should be stored at room temperature in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. It should be stored away from the reach of children and pets at all times.