(Rx) - indicates only available by prescription
Glucophage is used in the treatment of high blood sugar in those with type II diabetes. It is used in combination with diet and exercise. This is a form of medication known as a biguanide antidiabetic and is often used in conjunction with other antidiabetic medications. There may be other conditions where Glucophage is a good choice of medication for you and so do not be surprised if your doctor prescribes you this medication for another condition. However you can expect a full explanation for why he or she has done so.
As is the case with all drugs, it is vital that you carefully follow the instructions given to you by your doctor. In most cases this will be written on the label of the medicine bottle or box and you must read this information very carefully. If you do happen to have any questions about how to take this medicine then you should talk to your pharmacist, nurse or doctor and they will be happy to help you. You must not crush, break or chew this medicine and should instead swallow it whole with a glass of water. Take this medication with food. Where you keep the medicine is very important and in this case it must be stored at room temperature (77 degrees F) away from the sun and in the bottle or box provided or in an airtight container. You must take the medicine as directed by your doctor and if you can take it at the same time everyday i.e. at breakfast time, then that may help you to remember. It is very important that you take this medicine everyday as directed and do not miss a dose, even if you are feeling better. Failure to take your medicine as directed will likely result in the worsening of your symptoms. In the unfortunate scenario that you do forget to take a dose, you must take the missed dose as soon as you remember unless this is near the time of your next dose. In this case you should just forget about the missed dose and carry on with your normal schedule, as you must never take two doses of a single medication at the same time. If you have any concerns then you should contact your pharmacist, nurse or doctor for more information.
First and foremost you should not take Glucophage if you have experienced an allergic or other adverse reaction to it or any other ingredient that is used in the production of Glucophage. If you are worried that you may have had an adverse reaction to Glucophage in the past then you should discuss this with your doctor. Stopping a medicine suddenly will often result in a worsening of symptoms and side effects and in most cases your doctor will want you to come off a medicine slowly, a process known as tapering. There may be tests that are required by your doctor to check for side effects and/or monitor how effective the medicine is for you, however your doctor will talk to you about what is required. It is important to attend all laboratory and doctor appointments while you are taking Glucophage and additional appointments may be necessary when a change to the dose is made and during the initial starting period. You should avoid performing tasks such as driving; operating heavy machinery or any other dangerous activities until you know what effects this medicine has on you. Glucophage can make you feel dizzy therefore you should wait until you know what effects it has on your body before you partake in the above activities. Glucophage can cause stomach upset at the beginning of treatment. You should never change or alter the dose of any medication unless you have talked it through with your doctor. It is vital that you notify your doctor or pharmacist before you begin any new medication, even if it is only one brought over the counter. Glucophage may have adverse effects on the fetus in pregnant women and so all women who may be thinking about getting pregnant should weigh up the pros and cons of taking this medicine during pregnancy with their doctor. Also there is not enough research for us to know if Glucophage is excreted in the breast milk and so general advice at this time is to not breast-feed while on this medication. It is important that before you undergo any dental work or surgery of any kind that you let the dentist or doctor know that you are taking this medication. You must let the laboratory know that you are on this medicine if you undergo any blood tests as Glucophage may affect the results. Elderly taking this medicine should exercise caution, as they may be more sensitive to the effects of Glucophage. If you become dizzy while on this medication you should sit or stand up slowly and then contact your doctor. You should also try to avoid drinking any alcohol while taking this medication. Glucophage will commonly cause stomach upset, nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, or vomiting at the beginning of treatment; however this should not persist. Symptoms such as this later in treatment may be a sign of lactic acidosis. If you are vomiting or have diarrhea you must be careful to not become dehydrated. It is not common for this medicine to cause a low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). However this can occur and symptoms of this include: fainting, drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, nervousness, changes in vision, increased hunger, tremor, sweating, chills, headache, or increased heartbeat. If you are diabetic then it is a good idea to carry glucose tablets or gel with you to treat hypoglycemia. If there is no reliable source of glucose around then you should eat come sugar in the form of candy, honey, table sugar, orange juice, or non-diet soda. You should eat regular meals to avoid hypoglycemia. You should not drive or perform any other hazardous tasks if you have any symptoms of hypoglycemia. If in the past your blood sugars have been under control and all of a sudden they are out of the normal range you must see your doctor immediately. It is important to note that during times of surgery, injury, fever, or infection it may be much more difficult to control your blood sugars and a change in medicine may be required.
As is the case with most drugs Glucophage is not without its side effects. Some of the things that you may notice when taking this medication include: vomiting, temporary metallic taste, stomach upset, nausea, indigestion, headache, gas, or diarrhea. These may be minor and go away during the course of treatment, however if they do bother you then you must talk to your doctor. Glucophage was prescribed to you, as your doctor believes that the benefits will outweigh the side effects and so it is usual to expect some symptoms. However these symptoms should not cause you major discomfort and if this is the case then please talk to your doctor. You must talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any unusual tiredness or weakness, unusual drowsiness, persistent stomach pain or discomfort, irregular or slow heartbeat, muscle weakness or pain, general unwell feeling, a feeling of being very cold, persistent sore throat, chills, fevers, difficult or fast breathing, lightheadedness or dizziness, or chest pain. Fortunately it is uncommon for someone to have an allergic reaction to this medicine, however they do occur and if you notice severe dizziness, a rash, itching, trouble breathing or swelling then you must seek immediate medical attention. If you experience any symptoms that worry you, even if they are not listed above, then it is vital that you talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about it.
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