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07 Feb 2012 12:39 AM

Metformin, the Anti-Diabetic Drug

Metformin is an oral medicine used for treating type 2 Diabetes. The drug is sold under the brand name Glucophage. It helps in the control of blood sugar. It is used particularly for people who are overweight and obese. Metformin suppresses and reduces the production of glucose in the body. It is advised not to use the medicine for children below ten years of age. Glucophage XR is not to be used for children below seventeen years of age. Patients should take Glucophage doses according to the doctor’s prescription. They should follow the directions of the prescription. The doctor can change the doses for best results. Take the medicine along with the meals. Ask the doctor about this. Patients should not drink alcohol when using the medicine. Take Glucophage XR with evening meals, as told by the doctor. The medicine gives good results when used regularly. The Glucopage XR tablet should not be crushed and chewed or broken. Patients should swallow it as a whole tablet.
The levels of blood sugar should be checked regularly. So, visit the doctor and take the blood tests. The doctor may ask the patient to stop taking Glucophage if he is ill or has fever and infection, surgery or any other emergency. Patients need to take Vitamin B 12 along with Glucophage. People who are at risk of type 2 diabetes are recommended exercise and dieting. When Metformin is used for treating such cases, there is less likelihood of developing diabetes. People who are young and have a high body mass index respond better to Metformin than changes in the lifestyle. In diabetes, Metformin is used along with other drugs.
Consult a doctor for insulin treatment. If the patient wants to use Glucophage, he must inform the doctor of any liver disease or heart problem that he may be having. People who are allergic to Glucophage should not use it. In addition, it should not be used in case of diabetic ketoacidosis. Patients need to stop taking the medicine temporarily if they need to undergo X ray testing or CT scanning that involves injection of dye into the veins. . When administered in high doses, the drug causes lactic acidosis. It can be a fatal condition. Take medical help n case there are mild symptoms of muscle pain, numbness in the limbs, breathing problem, stomachache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, weakness and slow heart rate. A patient can have lactic acidosis if he has liver or kidney disorder, heart failure, infection, dehydration or consumes alcohol. Glucophage is not harmful for the pregnant women. Women should avoid breast-feeding when using the medicine.
Metformin is also used for treating polycystic ovary syndrome. Some studies have shown that the drug is useful temporarily in fatty liver disease. It is useful in the treatment of premature puberty and prevention of cardiovascular complications associated with diabetes. It reduces the level of LDL cholesterol as well as triglyceride. The drug has some side effects. It can cause gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, vomiting, and flatulence. It can cause hypoglycemia. The drug also affects those with hypothyroidism by lowering the blood levels of TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone.
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