I take 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening. I am just wondering what I am doing wrong to make them not dissolve and therefore not do their job?
Sometimes my metformin comes out in my poo as a whole tablet. Today there were 3 tablets?
Question posted by shell bell on 5 Sep 2013
Last updated on 18 March 2022 by CarloJr-RPh
As per “Facts & Comparisons”
ER Tablet:insoluble tablet shell (Glumetza)May remain intact & be visible in the stool. Other ER tablets (Fortamet, Glucophage XR) May appear in the stool as a soft mass resembling the tablet.
I take the chalky white horse pill version. No coating or hole - in fact, pill says to take whole, no splitting. Doc said I could take all four once a day, but I have better GI response taking at breakfast and dinner. I have found that sandwiching the pills with food (taking in middle of meal) also helps. The pills do occasionally come out in feces looking like swollen gummy versions of the originals. Seems as though this is more likely to happen if I've eaten a low-carb meal when I've taken them - but that could just be coincidence. It's not at all consistent, this obvious passing of pills. I'm not really concerned that they aren't working, though. My sugar is pretty well controlled. I take this with Invokana once daily and my last A1C was 6.5.
I too am having the same issue. I spoke with the pharmacist today and they said it is normal to see this. However like many others I too have dug the pill out the toilet and broken it open only to find all the medicine still inside. This problem though has only started within the past week with this new lot of pills. The pharmacist said each manufacture though FDA approved use different casings. So though he says this is normal (which i do nit believe) he is sending out a new batch. Because I am concerned i will not take any more until the new batch arrives. Its a risk but like orhers i have been on met. For years and only when i got this new batch to replace the last batch that they said was causing cancer did i start seeing the pill in my poop.
It is important to know what type of metformin is being taken.
According to the Mayo Clinic, about 1/2 of patients taking the ER (extended release) form of metformin see the tablet shell in their stool and this is nothing to worry about.
If you are not taking the ER form of the medicine, if you are taking regular metformin, then this should not be happening.
With regular metformin, perhaps you have extreme diarrhea and the pill is passing through too quickly to be absorbed. In which case you want to deal with the diarrhea.
* Are you eating enough food with your metformin? Maybe eat food with some fibre in it.
* Are you taking your pill immediately with your food or during your meal?
If that doesn't do it, know that metformin is a difficult to tolerate drug and many people need to be switched off it and onto something else due to not being able to resolve the diarrhea.
I notice some people on the metformin ER saying they've broken the tablets in their stool and found medicine still inside. If most of the medicine is still inside, I'm thinking their problem maybe diarrhea too.
I guess the key thing is whether your blood glucose levels and A1C are being controlled. If they are being controlled, if you are meeting your targets, then presumably you are absorbing enough of the metformin and you should not worry about the occasional tablet passing through. Just mention this happens at your next appointment, so your doctor knows.
If you are not meeting your targets, if addressing your diarrhea doesn't correct the problem, then you'll need to talk to your doctor. There are alternatives to metformin.
Disclaimer: I'm just another patient, not a medical professional.
I also take two Metformin ER 500 mg twice a day, and have been for the last 3 months. Over the past several weeks I have had on two separate occasions, bowel movements that also contained what appeared to resemble white to cream colored beans, two or three at a time, ranging in size from a great northern bean to a garbanzo bean, with my stool. At first I thought that they might be colon polyps, but I did not have any of the additional symptoms, such as blood in the stool, that would coincide with the excretion of the polyps. I will still consult with my doctor about this, but the "Metformin" alternative explanation makes more sense--and causes me less stress!
I have had the same issue on this medication as well. my medication looks like it has gone straight through me. I also have been nauseous while taking it. Diarrhea and intestinal issues have become a problem since beginning this medication. i believe that it is possible that this pill has different effects on people. it makes me feel better to have read some comment here, knowing i am not crazy from seeing the pill look whole after a bowel movement.
I used to be on metformin 1000 mg twice daily. I noticed same problem. My pills were oblong and had a scored line in middle. If yours are that way just break in half before taking. Hope you get a resolution to your problem.
I’ve been on metformin for several years. Only in the past year have I noticed the pill when I go to the bathroom. During this time my sugars now run higher. I read all the posts and clearly some of you are having the same issues. I find it hard to believe it’s the “norm”. My metformin always helped me but I never saw it in my stool now it happens often. I take metformin ER 500 2 in the morning and 2 at night. If this is normal shouldn’t the manufacturer have it listed in the guidelines we are given at the pharmacy?
I find my whole extended release pill fully intact too. In 5 hours. Powder still inside pill. Perhaps like me, your transit time is too fast. I take mine at 9am. One pill. Out by 2pm. I do not poop anytime after 7pm. So, I will switch to taking it at 7pm. I will not poop again until 7am. Perhaps 12 hours is enough time. Is there a way for you to try that?
I have been taken Metformin for years and just this week I notice these empty hard round white things in my stool..I had diarrhea and this is when I saw them... I was scared I had a parasite in my intestinal tract..until I read this blog. I still have the shells to show to my Dr. It was every time I had a bowel movement..was scared.
I am on this drug too. I just want to thank every one for their response, because I thought I was loosing my mind on this matter. I had no idea what this was and no it is a little clearer. Has anyone experienced bad stomach cramps and intestine issues. I have diverticulitis and I was scared I might have another perforation from this. Any thoughts?
"Some concern was expressed by patients that the metformin XR tablet appears to be eliminated in the faeces and is recognizable as a tablet shape. Patients need to be forewarned that this is expected and is a function of the tablet formulation . The extended release properties of the tablet are due to the presence of two insoluble polymers one of which contains metformin. As the tablet passes through the gastrointestinal tract, the tablet swells due to hydration of the outer polymer thereby creating a gel covering. For absorption to take place, metformin must penetrate the outer layer. The intactness of the tablet shape underscores the performance of the extended release tablet."
My Gastroenterologists told me that the medicine is doing its job but the shell will come out. You should be getting the medicine even though you see this.
So should I be concerned if my pills normally come through white but suddenly came through bright red then?
I have a question. I’m throwing mine up about 20 hours after taking it. It’s plumper from stomach fluids I guess. When I break it open it looks like mashed potatoes. Is this something I should worry about?
- Metformin uses and safety info
- Metformin information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side effects of Metformin (detailed)
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