Articles, DRUGS

Metformin (glucophage) – Uses, Dosage, Side Effects & Interactions

We are right now at a present world where the early bird catches the worm and it is this scenario that has been forcing people to be up and about on their heels. At such a fast paced world, it is often miraculous how disorders that were pertaining to the senior class or middle age now have diversified themselves, expanded towards the whole crowd with even small children now being diagnosed by demons like diabetes. This is just a simple example and there are many more like the problem of high blood pressure,  arthritis and such expanding themselves to the young crowd. Now one of the main reasons for diabetes can be looked upon as the rise in the sugar level in your blood which indeed is detrimental for your health, be it now or in the long run. This is essentially why there are modern medications that we often seek help from. They help you get yourself sorted out of these disorders, one such main being the medicinal drug metformin.

This is a drug essentially created to cater to your high blood sugar level needs as it decreases the sugar level in your blood and thereby helps you aid problems like diabetes. This is an oral medicine for diabetes with the generic name for the drug being metformin. However, you can often avail these medicine in its brand name forms, one of which is glucophage. There are other brand names for it too like fortamet, riomet, glucophage XR etc.

Metformin

Apart from aiding type II diabetes, this medication also helps you deal with kidney problems which are dormant and common when you are a diabetic patient. In the next segment we shall discuss the benefits of this medication along with how exactly it works on your system.

METFORMIN DRUG BENEFITS:

Now as mentioned before here in this segment we talk about how exactly the medicine helps us overcome the problem of high rising blood pressure. Glucose in our blood is necessary till some points but often the glucose secretion by the liver may be in excess thereby causing rise in the blood sugar. Now diabetes is formed due to lack of insulin which is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. This hormone, the insulin is produced solely to tackle the level of blood sugar produced by the liver as it decreases excess glucose in the blood and keep the blood sugar levels normal. Often at times the body may not react to the insulin in a way we would want a healthy body to react. this is when the medicine comes in as it helps you lower the glucose level in the body by increasing the body’s sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

Uses of metformin therefore can be enlisted as :-

  • Blood sugar control where as mentioned prior to this, the medicine uses its benefits to lower the production of body glucose. By increasing the sensitivity reaction of the body towards the insulin produced, this actually helps in relieving you of high rising blood sugar risks.
  • Diabetes: needless to say high blood sugar levels react or result in diabetes which too is something this medicine helps you tackle. Diabetes is basically a condition when the body’s glucose level rises and the insulin level falls thereby failing at combating the rise to high blood sugar.

HOW TO USE METFORMIN:

It is entirely based on your doctor whether this medication is needed by you or not. In the occurrence of your medical requirement or necessity, your doctor will prescribe this medication to you along with the details required, the form of medication to choose and even the consumption technique and the time intervals.

There are regular tablets and the extended release ones. While the regular tablets can be consumed at least 2-3 times the entire day regularly, extended release capsules need special attention and should be restricted to once a day since they are usually heavier dosed and lethal if taken more than required. We also get metformin oral suspension where the bottle needs to be shaken carefully before consumption. Always keep a professional measuring spoon or beaker around to measure your dosage instead of using household cups and spoons to measure it.

A metformin dose is usually advised to be taken with food to avoid side effects at its best and if you are consuming the glucophage XR, have this medicine once a day every day with your evening meal. While taking in a dose always make sure you do not bite or chew or split the tablet into half as it may spill the essential ingredients and in turn cause extra damage. Follow this guideline unless your doctor tells you otherwise in which case strictly follow his lead.

DOSAGE:

Your doctor would jot down the medicine based on your medical requirement. Strictly follow the routine and of course be aware of the dosage prescribed to you. Before prescribing to you the dosage, there should be some evaluations that needs to be taken into account, like your age, weight and the intensity of your medical requirement. Also, a strict eye should be kept for the results. If the results are not showing improvement, it’s time to re- consult your doctor.

It is always of the best essence if you start with a normal dose, the initial most effective dose and if the results are not effective, move on to a higher dose but only on doctor’s recommendation. The base dose for this would be metformin 500 mg which is an adult dose and can be used for a daily dosage. You need to take this dose twice a day, once in the morning and once in the night. Metformin for pcos patients are also kept at the same base dosage of 500 tiwce a day every day. The maintenance dose for this can be kept at metformin 850mg which is the second higher dose coming right after the highest dose which is metoformin 1000 mg. it is better if you divide the higher doses into small segments to avoid over dosing effects. The most this dosage can go is up to 2550 mg on a total basis. There is an extended released glucophage XR which can be used only once a day every day, the dosage maximum being 2000 mg.

If you are taking the oral suspension form, refrain from taking extra doses, simply use a professional beaker or a spoon to measure it. if you are consuming a tablet, make sure you never splice or dice the tablet in half before consuming, this may increase the risks of overdosing.

PRECAUTIONS:

Metformin for the ladies needs to be evaluated properly before the dosage is prescribed to them. If you are going through a pregnancy term, just know that these powerful medications pass on to the breast milk and therefore can indirectly harm your unborn. It may even cause withdrawal symptoms in the child post birth. For a lady not yet on her pregnancy term, this medicine may tamper with your menstrual cycle promoting excess ovulation which in turn increases the risk of pregnancy.

This medicine also causes the blood sugar to rise which is okay for the adults but for the pediatric and geriatric doses, a little miscalculation in the dosage can lead to fatal issues, now or in the long run. Blurred vision, dizziness or drowsiness is a common side effect to this medicine and therefore one should always keep an eye out for these symptoms. Plan your activities carefully around the dosage time so that you are not caught driving or working under heavy machineries when the drowsiness or dizziness sets in.

INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER MEDICINES:

Interaction with other medication usually means the current medicine would react heavily with subsidiary drugs that are found in your system and as a result a nasty side effect may show up. Usually allergy medicines are the most unfriendly drug there ever is where they attack the other drugs most often and therefore cause heavy reactions. If you are going through an allergy medication course, strictly avoid it. Also, if you are being treated for any kidney disorder as such consult your doctor regarding the mixing of both this and the kidney medicine dosage.

Beta blockers or analgesic medicines too need to be kept at consultation regarding the usage of them. Also, if you are using any heart or cardiac medicine, please keep an eye out on the results as both a heart medicine and a glucophage may cause interactions. Alcohol and drug abuse causes lethal damage if you mix them with your daily dose and therefore it is important that you maintain a strict no drinking or drug abuse routine for the course.

METFORMIN SIDE EFFECTS:

Every drug has a list of pro and con attached to it. much like it helps us overcome the diseases it also at times causes bad side effects which is why it is rally necessary that you keep consultation and periodical checkups at the top of your priority list. to start off, often there are some side effects that arise especially due to the introduction of a foreign substance to the body whereas the other kind of side effect may be your body’s way of warning you about the incompatibility or over dosing risks. For some these side effects are simply not a concern as they go unnoticeable but for many these may cause more hassle than the disorder itself. enlisted below are some of the most common side effects to this medication.

  • Weight loss: metformin for weight loss is one of the side effects where other drugs usually result in weight gain while the metformin drug would incline you towards losing weight. While to some point, this is okay and not a big issue, if too much weight loss sets in you have to deal with anorexia problems.
  • Upset stomach: here is yet another side effect to this medication where the constant pain of having an upset stomach may bother you. this side effect would usually hamper your bathroom going rate frequency as it can either turn into constipation or simply diarrhea. Even the stool color or consistency will be different along with periodic abdominal pains. In case the pain is too much immediately consult the doctor.
  • Allergy symptoms: often the side effect may be similar to allergy symptoms where you may feel your face, palm, neck or feet bloating followed by heavy rash, acne and some more redness and swelling. Joints may become stiff and painful and this is when the medication needs to be discontinued since this is an allergic response to the medicine that your body just showed you.
  • Flu symptoms: flu symptoms like that of common cold, slight fever with soft chills running down your spine may be one of the most common metformin side effects. Along with this runny nose may persist too but if the fever persistently refuses to go away consult a doctor.
  • Concentration difficulty: this is a much rare and more serious kind of side effect where the patient may constantly face a dilemma while making decisions which are results of excess nervousness along with lack of being able to concentrate properly. Lack of focus or loosing focus is a serious issue and needs to be treated by doctor immediately.

The problem with diabetes is that, these types of diseases sure comes easy but hardly goes away. Diabetes before has caused so many fatal damages that the excess blood sugar often prevents other medications from working therefore making it hard for you to treat yourself to other disorders. This is why drugs like metformin helps you deal with these disorders better. By controlling the blood sugar level it also helps in diabetes control.

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