Metformin Tablets (Generic Glucophage)
What is Metformin Hydrochloride?
Metformin is a drug that is only available on prescription. The brand name is Glucophage but there are many generic ones in the market and what we have here is one of them. This drug is just as effective as the brand and has the same composition but it is more affordable.
Metformin is available as Metformin hydrochloride tablets. These are white and oval in shape available in different strengths; 500mg, 850mg and 1000mg.
Metformin Hydrochloride Uses
This drug is mainly prescribed for patients who have high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. It is one of the drugs called antihyperglycemic, a name that means that it acts against high blood sugar. Its effects are particularly useful for people who have type 2 diabetes that are not responding to exercise and diet appropriately. Metformin may be given alone or together with other anti-diabetic drugs and insulin.
It is important to note that controlling diabetes is very important. Having high blood sugar can lead to blindness, kidney damage, nerve issues and blindness among others. It is very important to take this drug when it is prescribed to you by your doctor.
How it works
Metformin belongs to a class of drugs known as biguanides. These drugs work by reducing increasing the effect of insulin on the body. This is the hormone that is normally produced by the body and its function is to regulate the glucose levels in blood. This is achieved by aiding the conversion of blood glucose to glycogen that is then stored in various organs.
Biguanides increase the effects of insulin which means that more blood glucose is converted to glycogen. It also reduces the effects of glucagon, a hormone whose effects are the opposite of insulin. Glucagon causes the conversion of stored glycogen into glucose. With the reduction in the effects of glucagon and an increase in the effects of insulin, the result is a well-controlled blood sugar that is not too high.
There is no standard dosage of Metformin but you must stick to what your doctor prescribes. The prescription given depends on the age of the patient, the severity of the hyperglycemia and other factors.
This drug is available as Metformin Hydrochloride 850 mg, Metformin Hydrochloride 500 mg and Metformin Hydrochloride 1000 mg. The one that is right for you will be determined by your doctor. The doctor will tell you what tablet to take, how many of those to take and how many times to do so in a day. The maximum daily dose that must never be exceeded is 2000 mg for children and 2550 mg for adults. The first doses should be low and only increase when a greater dose is needed to achieve the desired effects. The typical starting dose is 500 mg twice a day or 850 mg once a day. This dose can then be increased by 500 mg weekly until the desired effect is achieved without ever exceeding the recommended daily maximum dosage.
Metformin Hydrochloride Side Effects
This drug can cause various side effects. They include a metallic taste in mind, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach upset and heartburn. These are usually not serious and go away after a few days. If any persists, seek medical advice.
Serious side effects that are life-threatening and require immediate medical attention are those associated with low blood sugar and lactic acidosis. These include: tiredness, unusual muscle pain, weakness, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, headache, drowsiness and sweating among others. If you experience any of these contact your doctor as soon as possible.
It should be noted that when used alone, Metformin rarely causes low blood sugar but when used with other interventions like insulin, low blood sugar can occur. This can be easily controlled with the help of your doctor.
FDA places a black box warning on the packaging of this medication. This warning indicates that the effects of the drug could be very dangerous. In this case, the condition being considered is lactic acidosis. Metformin buildup can cause lactic acidosis which is characterized by lactic acid levels increasing in blood. This condition is fatal and needs to be treated immediately. If you experience unusual muscle pain, weakness, trouble breathing, stomach pains and unusual sleepiness talk to a doctor and get diagnosed.
Lactic acidosis occurs when the kidney function is interfered with and as a result the organ is unable to excrete Metformin. This causes the Metformin to accumulate in blood.
Metformin Hydrochloride is contraindicated in various patients including those who:
- Have kidney disease
- Are allergic to Metformin
- Suffer from chronic metabolic acidosis
Before you start using Metformin, inform your doctor of any drugs you may be taking including all prescribed, herbal and leisure drugs. The doctor will determine if any of those drugs need to be stopped and will advice you accordingly. Take the advice given and follow it religiously.
Taking alcohol while on this medication is prohibited because this increases the chances of a person developing lactic acidosis.
Pregnant women and lactating mothers should not take this medication. It is passed in breast milk and its safety in pregnancy has not been established.
Safe use and overdosage
Metformin HCL is one of those drugs that should only be given if the useful effects to the patient outweigh the negative side effects. To reduce the chances of side effects occurring, ensure that you follow the doctor’s instructions to the latter.
Stick to the doses prescribed. In case of an overdose seek medical advice immediately. This can cause lactic acidosis. Missed doses should be compensated as soon as possible but if it is near time for the next dose, it should be skipped and the next doses taken normally.
Packaging details and recommended storage
The package of the generic Metformin you will find here is a plastic pack of containing 10 tablets each. Whether to buy the 850 mg, 1000 mg or 500mg pack will depend on the dosage recommended for you.
To store this medicine, keep it in a cool dry place that is away from light and moisture. Remember to keep it away from children and never share medicine with anyone even if they suffer from the same condition as you are.