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metformin (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking metformin (Fortamet, Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glumetza, Riomet)?

Some people develop a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis while taking metformin. You may be more likely to develop lactic acidosis if you have liver or kidney disease, congestive heart failure, a severe infection, if you are dehydrated, or if you drink large amounts of alcohol. Talk with your doctor about your individual risk.

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to metformin, or if you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment with insulin).

If you need to have any type of x-ray or CT scan using a dye that is injected into your veins, you will need to temporarily stop taking metformin.

To make sure you can safely take metformin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver disease; or
  • a history of heart disease.

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether metformin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using metformin.

Metformin should not be given to a child younger than 10 years old. Extended-release metformin (Glucophage XR) should not be given to a child younger than 17 years old.

How should I take metformin (Fortamet, Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glumetza, Riomet)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

Take metformin with a meal, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Some forms of metformin are taken only once daily with the evening meal. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Metformin is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. It is important to use this medicine regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet (Glucophage XR). Swallow the pill whole. Breaking the pill may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.

Your blood sugar will need to be checked often, and you may need other blood tests at your doctor's office. Visit your doctor regularly.

Check your blood sugar carefully during a time of stress or illness, if you travel, exercise more than usual, drink alcohol, or skip meals. These things can affect your glucose levels and your dose needs may also change.

Your doctor may want you to stop taking metformin for a short time if you become ill, have a fever or infection, or if you have surgery or a medical emergency.

Ask your doctor how to adjust your metformin dose if needed. Do not change your medication dose or schedule without your doctor's advice.

Your doctor may have you take extra vitamin B12 while you are taking metformin. Take only the amount of vitamin B12 that your doctor has prescribed.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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