Glucophage / Metformin

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:48 by admin
Glucophage, also known as metformin, is indicated for the treatment of type II diabetes, a serious disorder of blood sugar control. In people with diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to control blood sugar, which then rises to harmful levels. Glucophage lowers these blood sugar levels by increasing the body's response to its own insulin. The drug decreases the amount of sugar the liver makes and the amount of sugar the intestines absorb. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Glucophage, made by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, in 1994.

Common side effects of Glucophage use include, but may not be limited to, a metallic taste in the mouth, diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach. Glucophage should not be used by patients with kidney disease or by those taking medications for heart failure.

A boxed warning indicates that Glucophage may cause lactic acidosis (buildup of lactic acid in the blood), which is serious and can be fatal. This occurs mainly in people whose kidneys are not functioning properly. Patients given Glucophage should be made aware of lactic acidosis symptoms -- malaise, rapid breathing, shortness of breath and severe weakness. Lactic acidosis can be diagnosed with laboratory tests and requires that Glucophage therapy be stopped immediately and proper supportive care initiated.

A report published in the May 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that doctors prescribe a significant number of patients Glucophage even though the patients suffer from heart and kidney disorders. The study, which involved 100 patient prescriptions from a University of North Carolina hospital pharmacy, found that one-fourth of the users were inappropriately prescribed Glucophage. Researchers involved in the study fear doctors may not be aware they are prescribing the drug against a black box warning.

A 2003 study published in the medical journal Archives of Internal Medicine claims metformin may not place users at risk of developing lactic acidosis. Researchers reviewed clinical trials and cohort studies on metformin conducted between January 1, 1959, and March 31, 2002, discovering that there is no evidence to date that metformin therapy is associated with an increased risk of lactic acidosis.

If you were inappropriately prescribed Glucophage or have suffered adverse reactions to the drug, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

See Also

  1. Diabetes Drugs
  2. Diarrhea: Overview
  3. Lactic Acidosis: Overview
  4. Nausea: Overview
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