Precautions

Drug information provided by: IBM Micromedex

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits, especially during the first few weeks that you take this medicine. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Under certain conditions, too much metformin can cause lactic acidosis. The symptoms of lactic acidosis are severe and appear quickly. It usually occurs when other serious health problems are present, such as a heart attack or kidney failure. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include: abdominal or stomach discomfort, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fast or shallow breathing, a general feeling of discomfort, muscle pain or cramping, and unusual sleepiness, tiredness, or weakness. If you have more than one of these symptoms together, you should get emergency medical help right away.

Do not let yourself get dehydrated. Be sure to drink extra fluids when you exercise or increase your activity, or if you have vomiting or diarrhea.

Pancreatitis may occur while you are using this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have a sudden and severe stomach pain, chills, constipation, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, or lightheadedness.

Check with your doctor right away if you have more than one of these symptoms: chest pain, decreased urine output, dilated neck veins, extreme fatigue, irregular breathing, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, or weight gain. These may be signs of heart failure.

Let your doctor or dentist know you are taking this medicine. Your doctor may advise you to temporarily stop taking this medicine before you have major surgery or diagnostic tests, including procedures that use contrast dye.

It is very important to carefully follow any instructions from your health care team about:

  • Alcohol—Drinking alcohol may cause severe low blood sugar. Discuss this with your health care team.
  • Other medicines—Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This especially includes nonprescription medicines, such as aspirin, and medicines for appetite control, asthma, colds, cough, hay fever, or sinus problems.
  • Counseling—Other family members need to learn how to prevent side effects or help with side effects if they occur. Also, patients with diabetes may need special counseling about the changes in the dosing of their diabetes medicine that might occur with lifestyle changes, such as changes in exercise or diet. Furthermore, counseling on contraception and pregnancy may be needed, because of the problems that can occur in patients with diabetes during pregnancy.
  • Travel—Keep a recent prescription and your medical history with you. Be prepared for an emergency as you would normally. Make allowances for changing time zones and keep your meal times as close as possible to your usual meal times.
  • In case of emergency—There may be a time when you need emergency help for a problem caused by your diabetes. You need to be prepared for these emergencies. It is a good idea to wear a medical identification (ID) bracelet or neck chain at all times. Also, carry an ID card in your wallet or purse that says you have diabetes and that lists all of your medicines.

This medicine may cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This is more common when this medicine is taken together with certain medicines. Low blood sugar must be treated before it causes you to pass out (unconsciousness). People feel different symptoms of low blood sugar. It is important that you learn which symptoms you usually have so you can treat it quickly. Talk to your doctor about the best way to treat low blood sugar.

Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) may occur if you do not take enough or skip a dose of your medicine, overeat or do not follow your meal plan, have a fever or infection, or do not exercise as much as usual. High blood sugar can be very serious and must be treated right away. It is important that you learn which symptoms you have in order to treat it quickly. Talk to your doctor about the best way to treat high blood sugar.

This medicine may cause severe and disabling joint pain. Call your doctor right away if you have severe joint pain while using this medicine.

This medicine may cause bullous pemphigoid. Tell your doctor right away if you have large, hard skin blisters while you are using this medicine.

Do not drink a lot of alcohol while you are using this medicine. Heavy alcohol use can increase your risk for lactic acidosis.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.