Drug Advice for Diabetics: Metformin

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Generic Name: metformin (met FOR min)
Brand Names: Gluformin, (Nicholas Piramal); Glumet-XR (CIPLA), Glyciphage (Franco Indian), Glycomet (USV), Formin (Alkem)

Information for the pharmacist:
1. Metformin is an oral antidiabetic drug that is used to control blood sugar levels.
2. Metformin is prescribed in the treatment of Type II diabetes. Sometimes it is used in combination with insulin. It is not used in Type I diabetes.
Contraindications: renal failure, cardiovascular collapse, diabetic ketoacidosis, hepatic insufficiency
3. Doctor must be informed if a diabetic patient has renal, liver disease or heart disease.
4. Some patients develop lactic acidosis while consuming metformin.
5. Symptoms of lactic acidosis: weakness, sleepiness, cold feeling, slow heart rate, muscle pain, shortness of breath, pain in the stomach, and fainting.

Advice to the Patient:
1.Take metformin exactly as it is prescribed for you.
2.Do not take more dose than what is prescribed. Do not take for longer periods than prescribed by your doctor.
3.Take metformin after food. If your doctor advised you otherwise, follow that advice.
4.If metformin is prescribed once daily, take it after your evening meal.
5.Use your diabetes medicines regularly.
6.In addition to taking medicines, diabetics must follow a diet plan, do exercise and have proper control over their weights.
7.Do not break, or chew an extended release tablet of metformin (Glyciphage SR, (Franco Indian)).
8.Metformin must be stored at room temperature. It must be kept away from moisture, heat and light.
9.If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, with food. If it is almost time for the next dose, forget about the missed dose and take the next dose. Do not take any extra medicine at any time.
10.If you take an overdose by error, seek emergency help. Hypoglycemia or lactic acidosis may result from an overdose of metformin.
11.Patients taking metformin must avoid alcohol. Alcohol causes lowering of blood sugar by itself. If a patient taking metformin consumes alcohol, it may lead to lactic acidosis.

Side effects of Metformin:
*Headache or muscle pain
*Nausea, diarrhea, stomach ache, vomiting

1. http://www.drugs.com/metformin.html#ixzz0xhSKHHMu, [Accessed on 26.8.2010 at 2.40 pm].
2. Drug today, Vol.No II, April-June 2010, pages 1062-1063.

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kranthi kumar's picture

Santosh, This is good information to pharmacist !
Santosh kumar. JH's picture

A good information for patient as well.... Thank you
P.V.ABHIGNA's picture

Santosh, i have noticed that msny people sufferin from diabetis are also with hypertension.Why does this happen?and what do u think of the combination tablets. Regards,


Santosh kumar. JH's picture

Dear Abhigna, Diabetics mellitus results in hyperglycemia due to limited availability of Insulin, this increased osmolarity of blood due to excess glucose levels increases the blood volume thereby increasing the blood pressure. Moreover the risk factors associated with both the disease are common. As we are recording the medication lists of diabetic patients at KGH hospital we had found almost 80% of them are hypertensives. For such patients there prescription normally contains Metformin or Glibenclamide or Glipizide and cominations of glibizide+ metformin etc ... with an hypertensive like Amlodepine or Atenolol we also found that the doctors are not prescribing any combination products containing Diabetic and Anti-hypertensive drugs. These made me to refer CIIMS to find out the available combination products on anti-diabetics and anti-hypertensives I could found none. But I could found more them on combinations of diabetic drugs only. This clearly indicates that effective management of diabetics can automatically maintain the BP levels.

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