BRAND NAME: Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glumetza, Fortamet, Riomet
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Metformin is an oral medication that lowers blood glucose (sugar) and is used for treating type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that controls glucose levels in blood by reducing the amount of glucose made by the liver and by increasing the removal of glucose from the blood by muscle and fat tissues. As a result, blood glucose levels fall. Diabetes caused by a decrease in production of insulin that causes increased production of glucose by the liver, and reduced uptake (and effects) of insulin on fat and muscle tissues. Metformin acts by increasing the sensitivity of liver, muscle, fat, and other tissues to the uptake and effects of insulin. These actions lower the level of sugar in the blood.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Metformin is used for treating type 2 diabetes in adults and children. It may be used alone or in combination with other diabetic medications. Metformin also has been used to prevent the development of diabetes in people at risk for diabetes, treatment of polycystic ovaries, and weight gain due to medications used for treating psychoses.
SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects with metformin are nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, diarrhea and loss of appetite.