Glucophage Medication Information:

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Glucophage 500 mg
Glucophage 850 mg
Glucophage 1000 mg

Glucophage General Information

Glucophage is an oral medication taken to treat diabetes and maintain the body's blood sugar levels. It is for those people who have type 2 Diabetes and is sometimes used with insulin or other medicines, but is not used to treat type 1 diabetes. Sometimes, this medication is taken with insulin or other antidiabetic drugs, but it can also be taken alone.

How does Glucophage work?

Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to burn sugar and it builds up in the blood. Glucophage is able to lower the amount of sugar found in the blood by decreasing sugar production as well as absorption by aiding the body in responding more efficiently to its own insulin, which in turn encourages the burning of the sugar. The generic name for Glucophage is Metformin and it stops the liver from producing too much glucose. It can also help by lowering blood fats, aiding in weight loss and decreasing insulin resistance.

When/How is Glucophage taken/used/applied:

Glucophage is prescribed by a doctor and typically taken twice a day. It is not to be taken in larger amounts or longer than it is recommended by the doctor. Directions are to be followed that are provided on the medicine label. Your doctor may sometimes change the dose to make sure you are getting the best results. The medication is to be taken with a meal, unless you are told otherwise. There are some forms of Glucophage that are taken once a day with dinner. This medication is only part of a program of treatment that includes exercise, diet and controlling weight. The pill must be swallowed whole, not crushed, broken or chewed. It is important for your blood to be regularly tested to ensure the medication is helping your current issue.

Side Effects of Glucophage:

All types of medications taken may cause side effects, but there are some people that have little or no side effects. The most common side effects of Glucophage are diarrhea, headache, gas, indigestion, stomach ache, nausea, vomiting and temporary metallic taste. The following are uncommon severe side effects and it is important to see a doctor right away if you experience any of the following: severe allergic reaction (including hives, rash, tightness in chest, swelling of face), chest pain, dizziness, difficult or fast breathing; chills, fever, persistent sore throat, muscle weakness or pain, irregular or slow heartbeat, unusual tiredness or weakness, persistent or unusual discomfort in stomach or unusual tiredness.

Other brand names sold of Glucophage:

  • Glumetza
  • Glucophage XR
  • Riomet
  • Fortamet

Safety Inforamtion:

Glucophage can very rarely be the cause of a serious and sometimes fatal condition called lactic acidosis. Most of the known cases have only occurred in patients who were suffering from kidney problems as well as diabetes. The risk for this condition is greater if you do have problems with your kidney, have heart failure, are elderly or consume alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol while on Glucophage increases the danger of the condition lactic acidosis and can also cause blood sugar to drop. No one older than 80 should begin taking Glucophage unless lab results show the kidneys are properly functioning. Glucophage cannot be taken if you suffer from a severe infection, are dehydrated or have decreased blood oxygen levels. This medication cannot be taken while pregnant; since maintaining glucose levels is very important during pregnancy. You need to also tell your doctor that you are taking Glucophage before you have any type of lab procedures or sugery.


Glucophage is available in tablets of 500mg, 850 mg or 1,000 mg. The typical dosage is 850-1,000 mg taken two or three times a day. There is an extended release (Glucophage XR) that is available and taken just once a day.

Visual Description:

The 500mg tablet is white and round or oval; 850mg is white and round; 1,000mg is white and oval. If you happen to miss a dose, try to take is as soon as you can. If it is near the time you take the second dose, go ahead and skip the dose that you missed and then return to your schedule. Never take two doses at one time. Glucophage medication needs to be stored at room temperature.

About Glucophage

What Glucophage is used for

GLUCOPHAGE (metformin hydrochloride) is used to treat type 2 diabetes which cannot be controlled by proper diet, exercise and weight reduction.

What Glucophage does

GLUCOPHAGE is used to treat type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes are not able to make enough insulin or respond normally to the insulin their bodies make. When this happens, sugar (glucose) builds up in the blood. This can lead to serious medical problems including kidney damage, amputations, and blindness. Diabetes is also closely linked to heart disease. The main goal of treating diabetes is to lower your blood sugar to a normal level.

High blood sugar can be lowered by diet and exercise, by a number of medicines taken by mouth, and by insulin shots. While you take your diabetes medicine, continue to exercise and follow the diet advised for your diabetes, by your doctor.

No matter what your recommended diabetes management plan is, studies have shown that maintaining good blood sugar control can prevent or delay complications of diabetes, such as blindness.

GLUCOPHAGE helps control your blood sugar. Although the mode of action is not fully understood, it is believed to help your body respond better to the insulin it makes naturally by:

  • decreasing the amount of sugar your liver makes, and

  • decreasing the amount of sugar your intestines absorb.

When Glucophage should not be used

Do not take GLUCOPHAGE if you:

  • have unstable and/or insulin-dependent (Type I) diabetes mellitus

  • have metabolic acidosis (including diabetic ketoacidosis, history of ketoacidosis or lactic acidosis—too much acid in the blood)

  • drink a lot of alcohol

  • have liver or kidney problems

  • are going to have x-ray procedure with injection of dyes

  • are stressed, have severe infections, are experiencing trauma, prior to surgery or during the recovery phase

  • suffer from severe dehydration (have lost a lot of water from your body)

  • are hypersensitive or allergic to metformin hydrochloride or any ingredient in the formulation or component of the container

  • are breastfeeding

  • are pregnant or planning to become pregnant

  • have cardiovascular collapse (abrupt failure of blood circulation) or cardiorespiratory insufficiency

What the medicinal ingredient is

The medicinal ingredient for GLUCOPHAGE is metformin hydrochloride.

What the nonmedicinal ingredients for Glucophage are

GLUCOPHAGE tablets contain the following nonmedicinal ingredients: magnesium stearate and povidone.

What dosage forms Glucophage comes in

GLUCOPHAGE (metformin hydrochloride) is formulated into tablets of 500 mg and 850 mg strengths for oral administration.

Warnings and Precautions

Serious Warnings and Precautions

GLUCOPHAGE may rarely cause a serious, life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis (see Lactic Acidosis:).

You should not drink a lot of alcohol if you take GLUCOPHAGE (see Lactic Acidosis:).

Lactic Acidosis

GLUCOPHAGE may rarely cause a serious, life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis.

You should not take GLUCOPHAGE due to greater risk for lactic acidosis if you:

  • have kidney problems

  • are 80 years or older and you have NOT had your kidney function tested

  • are seriously dehydrated (have lost a lot of water from your body)

  • have liver disease

  • drink a lot of alcohol (regularly drink alcohol or sometimes drink a lot of alcohol, binge drinking)

  • have an x-ray procedure with injection of dyes (contrast agents)

  • prior to surgery or during recovery phase

  • develop a serious medical condition, such as heart attack, severe infection, or a stroke

Due to greater risk for lactic acidosis, you should talk to your doctor if you take GLUCOPHAGE and if you:

  • develop or experience a worsening of heart disease and particularly heart failure

Signs and symptoms of lactic acidosis include: discomfort, muscle pain, difficult or fast breathing, extreme tiredness, weakness, upset stomach, stomach pain, feeling cold, low blood pressure or slow heartbeat.

If any of the above side effects occur, consult your doctor immediately.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. GLUCOPHAGE should not be used during pregnancy and insulin treatment is recommended during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor about your choices. You must not take GLUCOPHAGE if you are nursing a child.

Tell your doctor of any other medical condition including: vitamin B12 deficiency or anemia, excessive alcohol use, allergies.

Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.

Interactions with Glucophage

Some drugs may interact with GLUCOPHAGE. Careful monitoring is advised. Tell your doctor if you are taking:

  • other diabetes drugs such as glyburide

  • furosemide

  • nifedipine

  • cationic drugs (e.g., amiloride, digoxin, morphine, procainamide, quinidine, quinine, ranitidine, triamterene, trimethoprim, and vancomycin)

  • other drugs tend to produce hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and may lead to a loss of blood sugar control. Some example of drugs that can increase the blood sugar include:

    • Thiazide and other diuretics (water pills)

    • Corticosteroids

    • Phenothiazines

    • Thyroid products

    • Estrogens or estrogens plus progestogen

    • Oral contraceptives

    • Phenytoin

    • Nicotinic acid

    • Sympathomimetics

    • Calcium channel blocking drugs

    • Isoniazid

    • Beta-2-agonists

  • ACE inhibitors drugs may lower blood glucose and the combination with GLUCOPHAGE should be carefully monitored.

Before using any drugs or herbal products, check with your doctor or your pharmacist.

Proper Use of Glucophage

Usual dose

Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take and when to take it. Follow the directions provided by your doctor for using this medicine. Taking this medicine with food will decrease symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.


In general, an overdose may lead to increased symptoms as described under Side Effects and What to Do About Them: including stomach discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, malaise and headache.

A serious, life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis may also occur (see Warnings and Precautions, Lactic Acidosis:).

If you have taken too much GLUCOPHAGE, immediately see your doctor, contact the poison control or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning.

Missed dose

If you forget to take GLUCOPHAGE tablets, do not take a double dose to make up for forgotten individual doses. Take the next dose at the usual time.

Side Effects for Glucophage and What to Do About Them

Common side effects of GLUCOPHAGE include:

  • diarrhea

  • nausea

  • upset stomach

  • abdominal bloating

  • gas

  • loss of appetite

These side effects generally go away after you take the medicine for a while. Taking your medicine with meals can help reduce these side effects. Tell your doctor if the side effects bother you a lot, last for more than a few weeks, come back after they've gone away, or start later in therapy. You may need a lower dose or need to stop taking the medicine for a short period or for good.

GLUCOPHAGE rarely cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) by themselves. However, hypoglycemia can happen if you do not eat enough, if you drink alcohol, or if you take other medicines to lower blood sugar.

Lactic Acidosis. In rare cases, GLUCOPHAGE can cause a serious side effect called lactic acidosis. This is caused by a buildup of lactic acid in your blood. This build-up can cause serious damage. Lactic acidosis caused by GLUCOPHAGE is rare and has occurred mostly in people whose kidneys were not working normally. Although rare, if lactic acidosis does occur, it can be fatal in up to half the people who develop it.

It is also important for your liver to be working normally when you take GLUCOPHAGE. Your liver helps remove lactic acid from your blood.

Make sure you tell your doctor before you use GLUCOPHAGE if you have kidney or liver problems.

You should also stop using GLUCOPHAGE and call your doctor right away if you have signs of lactic acidosis. Lactic acidosis is a medical emergency that must be treated in a hospital.

If your medical condition suddenly changes, stop taking GLUCOPHAGE and call your doctor right away. This may be a sign of lactic acidosis or another serious side effect.

Serious Side Effects, How Often They Happen and What to Do About Them
Symptom/Effect Stop taking drug and call your doctor or pharmacist
Feeling very weak, tired or uncomfortable
Unusual muscle pain
Trouble breathing
Unusual or unexpected stomach discomfort
Feeling cold
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
Suddenly developing a slow or irregular heartbeat
Lactic acidosis and symptoms which may be
  • Feeling very weak, tired, or uncomfortable

  • Unusual muscle pain

  • Trouble breathing

  • Unusual or unexpected stomach discomfort

  • Feeling cold

  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded

  • Suddenly developing a slow or irregular heartbeat

This is not a complete list of side effects. For any unexpected effects while taking GLUCOPHAGE, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Glucophage Facts

Glucophage is one of various trade names for medications containing the chemical metformin.

Metformin, the active ingredient in Glucophage, was first described in a scientific publication in 1957.

The active ingredient in Glucophage was first marketed in France in 1979, but was not approved for use in the United States until 1994.

Glucophage, the first formulation of metformin to be marketed in the United States, was introduced by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1995.


Technical Information