Glucophage is one of those medications that can significantly improve the quality of life of patients taking it but, unfortunately, cannot cure them. Glucophage is an antihyperglycemic preparation applied in individuals dealing with diabetes mellitus type 2.
This preparation is used in clinical practice since 1957. Though, in the United States, it was approved for use only in 1995. Glucophage is a medication chosen as a first-line treatment for type 2 diabetics. Except for this, Glucophage is also applied in pregnant women with gestational diabetes and those who can’t get pregnant because of the anovulation caused by polycystic ovaries.
The first thing to be mentioned here is that Glucophage is a brand name of the medication containing metformin as an active component. The mechanism of action of this chemical substance is not totally clear. However, it is known for sure that metformin imposes multiple effects on the human organism.
First of all, it suppresses the secretion of insulin in the liver, which helps lower its levels in the organism. Secondly, the drug makes the body’s tissues more sensitive to the insulin that is already present in the blood flow. Thirdly, it reduces the absorption of glucose from the gastric tract, thus inducing an anorexiant effect and stimulating the weight loss process.
Glucophage is only for oral use as it is produced in the form of the film-coated tablets. Each pill contains a certain amount of metformin. Based on this, you can buy such dosage strengths of Glucophage tablets: 500 mg, 850 mg, and 1g.
This drug should never be used as an instrument for self-treatment. Only a medical specialist, preferably an endocrinologist, should prescribe it, taking into account your health condition, levels of blood sugar, and other things that may play a role in the choice of a safe and effective dosing regimen. A blood test and physical examination are enough to determine the daily dose of Glucophage you need.
Glucophage can be administered by adults and children aged older than 10. The maximum daily dosage for these categories of patients differ. Adults can take a maximum of 2250 mg daily, whereas pediatric patients’ daily dose cannot exceed 2g.
Similar to many other preparations, Glucophage daily dose should be increased gradually. The initial dose of the drug for adults varies. It can be either 500 mg administered two times a day or 850 mg taken as a single dose. In children, the starting dose of the preparation is 1g divided into two intakes.
The dose can be increased either by 500 mg weekly or by 850 mg every two weeks. It depends on the initially chosen dose and on the patients’ tolerance and response to the drug.
As the daily dose raises, it should be divided into two or three intakes to reduce the risks of adverse reactions and sustain stable levels of metformin in the organism.
The preparation should be administered with food, preferably at the same time each day. You’d better not miss the intakes as it may reduce the efficacy of the therapy.
Individuals with the renal disease need their dose to be adjusted. In case their kidneys condition gets worse, Glucophage may need to be discontinued.
Certain medical procedures require an interruption in Glucophage therapy. These are surgery, some dentistry procedures, X-ray or scanning procedures that involve the use of iodinated contrast. The treatment may be resumed in a couple of days after the procedure. To know exactly, consult your doctor.
The risks for developing adverse effects to medications vary in different people. It is connected not only with the dose of the drug they administer but also with the comorbidities they suffer. Glucophage is not an exception from the rule. For some patients, the likelihood of developing severe adverse reactions is significantly higher. To minimize any risks, there exist special recommendations on the drug intake for these people. They may need their dose of Glucophage to be adjusted or pass certain tests more often than those who don’t have any additional health issues.
Informing your caregiver about the following diseases you suffer or have suffered is utterly important, as it will let him/her choose a safer dosing regimen or take additional measures to control your health condition with the initiation of the therapy:
heart health issues, especially those characterized by hypoxia;
anemia or other blood disorders.
People aged more than 65 should take Glucophage with caution as their renal and hepatic function may be decreased due to age.
Alcohol consumption should be reduced to a minimum. The thing is that alcohol caused severe dehydration, which, in combination with the effects induced by Glucophage, may result in the development of lactic acidosis.
Patients suffering from light or moderate kidney disorder should regularly pass tests for checking their renal function. In case of any worsening, the therapy with Glucophage may need to be discontinued.
Special caution is also required in those taking other medicines for blood sugar levels control. It’s crucial to regularly check blood glucose levels to prevent hypoglycemia. The tests will allow your doctor to make changes in the dosing regimen of the drugs (if needed) to keep the blood sugar within the norm.
Pregnant women can take Glucophage to cope with gestational diabetes. The studies show that this medication is safer for expectant mothers than insulin as the risks of developing pre-eclampsia is lower with Glucophage. Still, evidence of its long-term safety is lacking.
When on Glucophage, dizziness may occur. Besides, your vision may get blurred. To prevent traumatization, you should avoid driving a car or operating machinery unless you know your reaction to metformin.
Glucophage gets into interaction with a number of drugs. The major hazards in such cases are the levels of blood glucose, which can go down, leading to hypoglycemia, and the risks of developing lactic acidosis. To prevent the negative scenario, your doctor should be aware of all the medicines you take, especially if they are:
The measures that may be applied to prevent any harmful impact on your health include the titration of the dose of Glucophage or the medication it interacts with or setting a time gap between the intakes of two medications to minimize the likelihood of their negative effect. Also, your doctor may offer a safer substitution for the medication that may dangerously influence your health during the therapy with Glucophage.
When the risks for adverse effects are too high, people are not recommended to take Glucophage. The conditions that should stop you from the treatment with this medication are:
known hypersensitivity to metformin or any excipient of the medication;
severe kidney disease;
serious liver disorder;
Age under 10 is another contraindication to the treatment with Glucophage.
Glucophage is known to cause more gastrointestinal adverse reactions than any other medicine for blood sugar levels control. However, these reactions are usually short-termed and get milder or disappear as soon as the organism gets adjusted to it. The most often reported reactions to Glucophage are the following:
Contact your healthcare provider to inform him/her about any unwanted reactions. Experiencing severe side effects, you should call an emergency room or go to the nearest clinic. The symptoms that should make you do so include:
trouble passing the urine;
increased heart rate.
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