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Metformin (Oral)

What is Metformin?

Metformin is a medication commonly used as the first medication for people with type 2 diabetes. Since type 2 diabetes is typically a progression of worsening insulin resistance, metformin is also used to treat insulin resistance. It is a pill taken by mouth and it comes in regular and slow-release forms. It works by helping stop the liver from converting protein or fat into sugar. It does not cause an increase in the release of insulin but can make the body more sensitive to insulin effects. It may be taken on its own or with other diabetes pills or insulin. It also comes in a one pill combination with other diabetes medications.

How should Metformin be used?

Metformin comes as a liquid, a tablet, and an extended-release (long-acting) tablet to take by mouth. The liquid is usually taken with meals one or two times a day. The regular tablet is usually taken with meals two or three times a day. The extended-release tablet is usually taken once daily with the evening meal. To help you remember to take metformin, take it around the same time(s) every day.

Swallow metformin extended-release tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.

We will typically start you on a low dose of metformin and gradually increase your dose not more often than once every 1–2 weeks to a maximum dose of 2000mg per day. If you experience significant side effects, please continue taking the metformin on the lowest dose you can tolerate. Please do not stop taking metformin without informing us.

What side effects can Metformin cause?

Common side effects of metformin include bloating, indigestion/heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, unpleasant metallic taste in mouth, headache, dizziness, and gas. These are usually not severe, especially if you take metformin along with food. The side effects usually improve after a few weeks. Some other side effects:

What other precautions should I take when taking Metformin?

People with severe kidney, liver, and heart disease and those who drink alcohol excessively should not take metformin. There are certain situations in which you should stop taking metformin, including if you develop acute or unstable heart failure, get a serious infection causing low blood pressure, become dehydrated, or have severely decreased kidney function. You will also need to stop your metformin before having surgery of any kind.

For complete patient information on metformin, please visit the website below:


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