What is metformin?

Metformin

Metformin for type 2 diabetes: Overview

Metformin is a medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It helps keep blood sugar levels on target.

You may have tried to eat a healthy diet, lose weight, and get more exercise to keep your blood sugar in your target range. If those things do not help, you may take a medicine called metformin. It helps your body use insulin. This can help you control your blood sugar. You might take it on its own or with other medicines.

When taken on its own, metformin should not cause low blood sugar or weight gain.

What are some examples of metformin?

Here are some examples of metformin. For each item in the list, the generic name is first, followed by any brand names.

  • metformin (Glucophage)
  • long-acting metformin (Glucophage XR, Glumetza, Fortamet)
  • liquid metformin (Riomet)

Sometimes metformin is combined with other diabetes medicine.

  • Avandamet is a combination of metformin and rosiglitazone.
  • Glucovance is a combination of metformin and glyburide.
  • Janumet is a combination of metformin and sitagliptin.

This is not a complete list.

What are some cautions about metformin?

Cautions for metformin include the following:

  • Contrast dyes used in X-rays, scans, and surgeries can cause a serious problem called lactic acidosis if you are taking metformin and have severe kidney disease. Be sure all your doctors know that you take this medicine if you need a test that involves the use of a dye or if you have surgery. You may have to stop taking metformin for a while.
  • Metformin does not usually cause low blood sugar. But you may have low blood sugar if you take it with medicines that do, or if you exercise very hard, drink alcohol, or do not eat enough.

Why is metformin used?

Metformin is a medicine used to treat prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. It helps control your blood sugar. It is also used to treat polycystic ovary syndrome.

Metformin works very well and is generally safe.

What are the side effects of metformin?

When you first start taking metformin or take a larger dose, you may feel sick to your stomach or have diarrhea for a short time.

Blood levels of vitamin B12 may decrease when you take metformin. If you have been taking metformin, ask your doctor if you need a B12 blood test.

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