If you have type 2 diabetes, your healthcare provider may prescribe Glucophage to help control your blood sugar levels. The drug works by lowering the amount of sugar produced by the liver and by decreasing the amount of sugar the body absorbs. It comes in tablet form and is taken one to three times a day, and it is also available in an extended-release tablet that is taken once a day with your evening meal. There are possible side effects of Glucophage, including diarrhea, indigestion, and nausea.
What Is Glucophage?Glucophage® (metformin) is a prescription medication that is licensed to treat type 2 diabetes (also known as noninsulin-dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes). It also comes in:
- A long-acting, extended-release form called Glucophage XR® (metformin ER)
- Two long-acting forms, sold under the brand names of Fortamet® and Glumetza®
- A liquid version called Riomet®.
(Click What Is Glucophage Used For? for more information on what it is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
Who Makes Glucophage?Generic Glucophage is made by numerous manufacturers. Glucophage and Glucophage XR are manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
How Does It Work?Glucophage is part of a class of diabetes medications known as biguanide medications. The drug works in several ways. For example, it decreases the amount of sugar (glucose) made by the liver. The drug can also decrease the amount of sugar absorbed into the body (from the diet) and can make insulin receptors more sensitive, helping the body respond better to its own insulin. All of these effects cause a decrease in blood sugar levels.
Because it does not increase the amount of insulin produced by the body, it is less likely to cause dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), as many other diabetes medications can do (see Alternatives to Metformin).