Last updated on April 9th, 2022
Glucophage 500 mg is a brand name for Metformin 500 mg. It is the most trusted medication for treating diabetes type-2 in adults. In the past few years, there has been a surprising increase in the number of diabetes patients. Consequently, a lot of pharmaceutical brands have come up with their diabetes medication. Glucophage 500 mg is the most recommended medicine for diabetes patients as it does not have severe side effects. Its working mechanism is also different from others medicines in lowering blood sugar levels and reducing diabetes-related complications.
Glucophage is a brand name for the generic medicine Metformin that belongs to a drug class non-sulfonylureas. It is an oral anti-hyperglycemic drug for treating diabetes type-2. Glucophage 500 mg tablet is a film-coated tablet that contains 500 mg metformin hydrochloride corresponding to 390 mg metformin base. The doctors recommend Glucophage 500 mg to treat diabetes type-2, particularly in overweight patients, when diet and exercise alone do not result in diabetes control.
The Working Mechanism of Glucophage 500 MG Tablet
Metformin HCl is an active ingredient of Glucophage. Metformin is an anti-hyperglycemic agent that helps in improving glucose tolerance in type-2 diabetes patients. It lowers both the fasting and the postprandial glucose levels. Its mechanism of action is different from the other medicines of the same class. Metformin decreases hepatic glucose production and intestinal absorption of glucose. It also increases peripheral glucose uptake and utilization to improve insulin sensitivity without causing hypoglycemia.
Dosage Information About Glucophage 500 MG Tablet
The usual adult dose of Glucophage extended-release tablet for diabetes type-2 patients should not exceed 2550 mg a day. The recommended dosage of Glucophage in adults ranges from 500 mg three or four times a day. Take this medicine with meals to avoid vomiting, nausea, and stomach upset. Diabetes patients should monitor their blood sugar levels regularly. It ensures Glucophage is working well in managing their diabetes.
Also read: Average blood sugar calculator
Contraindications of Using Glucophage 500 MG Tablet
Few contraindications and limitations are there for the use of Glucophage tablets in diabetes type 2 treatment. People with liver and kidney diseases, low blood glucose levels, cardiorespiratory issues, and pregnant women should not take Glucophage without consultation with the doctor to treat diabetes type-2.
Glucophage (metformin hydrochloride) and Glucophage XR (metformin hydrochloride) extended-release tablets are suitable for people with diabetes type-2. The doctors recommend this medication as an adjunct with diet and exercises to improve the blood glucose levels in adults and children with diabetes type-2. However, contraindications of Glucophage and Glucophage XR in patients with:
- Known hypersensitivity to Metformin
- Severe or acute metabolic acidosis like diabetic acidosis
- Severe renal impairment (eGFR below 30 mL/min/1.73 m2)
- Having a radiology related surgery and other procedures
Glucophage is also not suitable if you:
- Suffer from severe dehydration
- Are pregnant or breast-feeding
- Are having a lactic Acidosis
- Have liver diseases or kidney problems
- Have cardio-respiratory issues
- Have poor glycemic control (People with diabetes type 1 should not consider this medicine as the only anti-diabetic agent. They need to continue with their insulin shots.)
Drug Interaction With Glucophage 500 MG Tablet
Glucophage or Metformin interacts with other drugs and some foods. It affects the effectiveness of Glucophage. Sometimes, the drug interaction may lead to severe complications. Therefore, you should inform your doctor if you are taking any medicine or supplement for any other health problem.
Glucophage can easily interact with other drugs and increases the risk of developing side effects in the patients. Glucophage does not affect your blood sugar levels while interacting with some other drugs. Hence becomes useless in diabetes management therapy. Here is a list of some medicines that easily interact with Metformin in Glucophage:
- Beta-blocker medications
In addition to these drugs, the drugs that affect glycemic control like calcium channel blockers, thyroid products, oral contraceptives, nicotinic acids, and hormone medicines also interact with Glucophage.
Common Side Effects of Glucophage 500 MG Tablet
The mild side effects of Glucophage usually go off without medications. However, do not get late to consult your doctor if the side effects persist for a long time. The persistence of such side effects may have severe consequences as well.
Hives (Urticaria), difficult breathing, and swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat are the signs of allergic reaction of Glucophage. If any person with diabetes who is taking Glucophage experiences such symptoms, they should contact the doctor immediately. Some people may experience mild side effects of Glucophage such as:
- feeling cold
- slow or irregular heart rate
- unusual muscle pain
- trouble breathing
- feeling dizzy, light-headed, tired, or very weak
- upset stomach and stomach-ache
- low blood sugar levels
These common and mild side effects of Glucophage may be troublesome for some time but, they do not cause extensive health issues. The symptoms of common side effects of Glucophage are treatable.
Metformin Associated Lactic Acidosis
Lactic Acidosis is a rare side effect of Glucophage or Metformin. It occurs due to the increase in production or less utilization of lactic acid in your body. If untreated for a long time, Lactic Acidosis may be fatal for the patients. Therefore, discontinue the use of Glucophage if you notice the symptoms of Lactic Acidosis.
Lactic Acidosis is a severe but rare side effect of Metformin. It occurs due to the lack of oxygen in the muscles to break down glycogen and glucose. A high level of blood lactate concentrations (>5 mmol/L) is a sign of Lactic Acidosis. The non-specific symptoms include respiratory distress, abdominal pain, sleepiness, and discomfort. Immediate discontinuation of Glucophage or Glucophage XR can treat patients with suspected or diagnosed Lactic Acidosis.
Treatment of Lactic Acidosis
The doctors recommend hemodialysis to the patients to correct the Lactic-acidosis and remove accumulated metformin in the body. Giving IV fluids and an increase in oxygen levels in the tissues also help in reducing Lactic Acidosis.
Renal Impairments in patients with Lactic Acidosis
Diabetes patients with renal impairments should take Glucophage only after obtaining their eGFR. It helps them to avoid further health complications. Generally, renal impairments occur in older people or those who have Metformin-related Lactic Acidosis. Take consultation with a doctor to keep away the side effects of Glucophage if you have liver and kidney problems.
Metformin-associated Lactic Acidosis occurs in patients with significant renal impairments. The risk of accumulation of Metformin and Metformin-associated Lactic Acidosis increases with the severity of renal impairments. It happens because the kidneys excrete Metformin. Therefore, the sugar patients should obtain their estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) before starting Glucophage or Glucophage XR.
Initiation of Glucophage concerning eGFR
Different values of eGFR determine the administration of Glucophage in the patients.
- Patients whose eGFR falls below 45 mL/min/1.73 m2 should discuss the benefit and risks of continuing the intake of Glucophage with the doctor.
- Ideally, Glucophage is not suitable for patients with eGFR between 30-45 mL/min/1.73 m2. Patients with eGFR less than 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 should strictly avoid taking Glucophage. It indicates severe renal impairments.
The patients who are at the risk of developing renal impairments should at least annually obtain their eGFR. Generally, the elderly patients and the patients who might have kidney problems or related surgery should get their eGFR values before starting with Glucophage.
Also read: Are carrots good for diabetics to eat
Glucophage 500 MG Related Deficiency of Vitamin B12
Glucophage is responsible for Vitamin B12 deficiency in your body. It primarily decreases the absorption of Vitamin B12 that leads to its deficiency. The complete blood count is the test that detects Glucophage or Metformin-related deficiency of Vitamin B12. The doctor may suggest you take Vitamin B12 oral supplement or intramuscular injection to cover up this deficiency. You can eat Vitamin B12 rich food items also to meet the daily needs of Vitamin B12.
Clinical trials of Glucophage show the deficiency of Vitamin B12 in the diabetes patients taking Glucophage. Their Vitamin B12 levels decrease due to the interference with B12 absorption in your body. Vitamin B12 deficiency often results in anemia (lack of red blood corpuscles) to perform the essential body functions. Hence, you may feel tired, weak, have heart palpitations, and have shortness of breath. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause nerve damage and affect your thinking ability.
Diagnosis of Vitamin B12 deficiency
Many of the common symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency overlap with other health conditions. Therefore, it is difficult to diagnose the deficiency of Vitamin B12 in your body. Besides your medical history and physical examination, Complete Blood Count (CBC) laboratory tests may help in diagnosing deficiency of Vitamin B12.
Treatment of Vitamin B12 deficiency
Intramuscular (IM) injections help treat Vitamin B12 deficiency due to decreased absorption. Injecting vitamin B12 goes directly into your blood and covers up the deficiency. There are Vitamin B12 oral medicines as well that helps in treating the deficiency of Vitamin B12. Recovery of Vitamin B12 deficiency takes time up to six to twelve months. Milk, Fish, Chicken, Almonds, and Eggs are Vitamin B12 rich foods. They help to treat Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Precautions to Follow While Taking Glucophage 500 MG Tablet
The patients should take some precautions to get the positive effect of these medicines on their blood glucose levels. When a doctor prescribes Glucophage to diabetes patients, they should discuss health history, diet and exercise routine, and medications they are already taking. Additionally, they also need to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly, avoid alcohol intake, and consume a proper diet to get the positive results of Glucophage.
It is crucial to follow some instructions whether you are taking Metformin 500 mg or Glucophage 500 mg Tablets. You should ensure to provide all the essential information about your health to your doctor. It may affect how you should take this medicine. Here is a list of some precautions to follow while taking Glucophage:
- Monitoring Blood sugar levels: Right from day, one when you start taking Glucophage 500 tablets, you should keep a record of your blood sugar levels. Monitor your fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels to know how Glucophage is affecting your blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar levels drop significantly, inform your doctor. It will prevent your blood sugar levels from going below the significant levels and avoid hypoglycemia.
- Diet: Glucophage works well when you combine it with a proper diet. When you start taking Glucophage 500 tablets, make sure to follow the correct diet. It helps in maintaining an optimum level of blood sugar levels in your body. Taking Glucophage doesn’t mean that you should compromise with a proper diet or increase the intake of carbohydrates.
- Blood sugar control: Fever, infection, or surgery may affect your blood sugar levels. Therefore, in such cases, contact your doctor immediately. If the doctor thinks it is necessary to stop Glucophage temporarily, then you should follow the instructions. Your doctor may suggest insulin injection as a temporary means to control the blood sugar levels. When some health problems get well, your doctor may restart Glucophage to manage your diabetes.
Avoid alcohol intake: The doctors recommend abstaining from drinking alcohol in excess while taking Glucophage. Alcohol can decrease your blood sugar levels sometimes drop them to dangerous levels in people with diabetes type-1. It stimulates the appetite. Therefore, you may end up eating more and consuming more calories that increase your blood sugar levels. Alcohol also interferes with some diabetes medications like Glucophage and insulin.
Also read: Yoga for diabetes control
Does Glucophage cause weight loss?
There is no evidence for weight loss due to Glucophage XR extended-release tablets. If someone is looking for a weight loss medication, then Glucophage XR is not the solution. Glucophage helps in improving glycemic control and reduces the chances of developing diabetes-related complications. Therefore, considering this medicine as a weight loss medicine can be fatal for non-diabetics.
What can affect the dose of Glucophage?
The dosage of medication may vary from person to person. The body weight, certain medical conditions, and other medicines that a person is already taking can affect the dosage of Glucophage in diabetes patients. Therefore, do not change the dosage without consulting your doctor despite your blood sugar levels are under control. You should first consult your doctor. If a doctor thinks that your blood sugar is in control, you can lower the dosage of Glucophage.
What are the ingredients of Glucophage tablets?
Glucophage is available in different strengths. It contains 500 mg, 850 mg, or 1000 mg of metformin hydrochloride as an active ingredient. Each table of Glucophage contains povidone and magnesium stearate as the inactive ingredients. The coating of Glucophage 500 mg and 850 mg tablets contains hypromellose. On the other hand, the film-coating of the Glucophage 1000 mg tablet contains hypromellose and polyethylene glycol.
Can I stop Glucophage when glucose levels drop to normal?
Glucophage helps in preventing long-term health complications due to diabetes type-2. You may stop taking Glucophage if your doctor thinks that your body can maintain your blood sugar levels. Reducing the dosage or discontinuing Glucophage is safe if your diabetes is under control. However, you should consult with your doctor before stopping Glucophage. If your doctors notice that your blood glucose levels are under control, the doctor may reduce your dosage.
Can I take Glucophage before or after meals?
The best time to take Glucophage 500 mg tablet is along with the meals. Avoid taking it before or after the meals. It helps in reducing the side effects that it cause to diabetes patients. The patients need to swallow the tablets as a whole with a glass of water. You do not chew or cut the Glucophage tablet as it can affect the extended-release properties of the tablet.
Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.