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GLUCOPHAGE 500 MG POWDER FOR ORAL SOLUTION IN SACHETS

Active substance(s): METFORMIN HYDROCHLORIDE

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Package leaflet: Information for the user
GLUCOPHAGE 500 mg powder for oral solution in sachets
metformin hydrochloride
Read all of this leaflet carefully before you start taking this medicine
Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.
If you have any further questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
This medicine has been prescribed for you only. Do not pass it on to others. It may harm them,
even if their signs of illness are the same as yours.
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. This includes any possible side
effects not listed in this leaflet. See section 4.

What is in this leaflet
1.
What Glucophage is and what it is used for
2.
What you need to know before you take Glucophage
3.
How to take Glucophage
4.
Possible side effects
5.
How to store Glucophage
6.
Content of the pack and other information

1.

What Glucophage is and what it is used for

Glucophage contains metformin, a medicine to treat diabetes. It belongs to a group of medicines called
biguanides.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that makes your body take in glucose (sugar) from the
blood. Your body uses glucose to produce energy or stores it for future use.
If you have diabetes, your pancreas does not make enough insulin or your body is not able to use
properly the insulin it produces. This leads to a high level of glucose in your blood. Glucophage helps
to lower your blood glucose to as normal a level as possible.
If you are an overweight adult, taking Glucophage over a long period of time also helps to lower the
risk of complications associated with diabetes. Glucophage is associated with either a stable body
weight or modest weight loss.
Glucophage is used to treat patients with type 2 diabetes (also called 'non-insulin dependent diabetes')
when diet and exercise alone have not been enough to control your blood glucose levels. It is used
particularly in overweight patients.
Adults can take Glucophage on its own or together with other medicines to treat diabetes (medicines
taken by mouth or insulin).
Children 10 years and over and adolescents can take Glucophage on its own or together with insulin.

2.

What you need to know before you take Glucophage

Do not take Glucophage

if you are allergic to metformin or any of the other ingredients of this medicine (listed in section
6)

if you have liver problems or kidney problems (glomerular filtration rate below 45 ml/min)

if you have uncontrolled diabetes, with e.g. severe hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose),
nausea, vomitting, dehydration, rapid weight loss or ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a condition in
which substances called 'ketone bodies' accumulate in the blood and which can lead to diabetic







pre-coma. Symptoms include stomach pain, fast and deep breathing, sleepiness or unusual fruity
odour of the breath
if you lost too much water from your body (dehydration), such as due to long-lasting or severe
diarrhoea, or if you have vomitted several times in a row. Dehydration may lead to kidney
problems, which can put you at risk for lactic acidosis (see 'Warnings and precautions’)
if you have a severe infection, such as an infection affecting your lung or bronchial system or
your kidney. Severe infections may lead to kidney problems, which can put you at risk for lactic
acidosis (see 'Warnings and precautions)
if you are treated for acute heart failure or have recently had a heart attack, have severe
problems with your circulation (such as shock) or have breathing difficulties. This may lead to a
lack in oxygen supply to tissue which can put you at risk for lactic acidosis (see “Warnings and
precautions’ )
if you drink a lot of alcohol

If any of the above applies to you, talk to your doctor, before you start taking this medicine.
Make sure you ask your doctor for advice, if:

you need to have an examination such as X-ray or scan involving the injection of contrast
medicines that contain iodine into your bloodstream

you need to have major surgery
You must stop taking Glucophage for a certain period of time before and after the examination or the
surgery. Your doctor will decide whether you need any other treatment for this time. It is important
that you follow your doctor’s instructions precisely.
Warnings and precautions
Please note the following particular risk of lactic acidosis.
Glucophage may cause a very rare, but very serious complication called lactic acidosis, particularly if
your kidneys are not working properly. The risk of developing lactic acidosis is also increased with
uncontrolled diabetes, prolonged fasting or alcohol intake, body fluid deficit (dehydration) due to
severe diarrhoea or vomitting, liver problems and any medical conditions in which a region of the
body is deprived with a lack of oxygen supply (such as acute severe heart diseases).
It is important to you to comply with your medication intake, dietary instructions and regular exercise
program because this can reduce the risk of lactic acidosis.
The onset of lactic acidosis can be subtle and the symptoms can be non-specific such as vomitting,
belly ache (abdominal pain) with muscle cramps, a general feeling of not being well with severe
tiredness, and difficulty in breathing. Further symptoms are reduced body temperature and heart beat.
If you experience some of these symptoms, you should seek immediately medical attention, as
lactic acidosis may lead to coma. Stop taking Glucophage immediately and contact a doctor or
the nearest hospital straight away.
Glucophage on its own does not cause hypoglycaemia (a blood glucose level which is too low).
However, if you take Glucophage together with other medicines to treat diabetes that can cause
hypoglycaemia (such as sulphonylureas, insulin, meglitinides), there is a risk of hypoglycaemia. If you
experience symptoms of hypoglycaemia such as weakness, dizziness, increased sweating, fast heart
beating, visions disorders or difficulty in concentration, it usually helps to eat or drink something
containing sugar.
Other medicines and Glucophage
If you need to have an injection of contrast medicines that contain iodine into your bloodstream, for
example for examinations such as X-ray or scan, you must stop taking Glucophage for a certain
period of time before and after (at least 48h) the examination (see 'Make sure you ask your doctor
for advice' above).

Tell your doctor if you take any of the following medicines and Glucophage at the same time. You
may need more frequent blood glucose tests or your doctor may adjust the dosage of Glucophage:

diuretics (used to remove water from the body by making more urine).

beta-2 agonists such as salbutamol or terbutaline (used to treat asthma)

corticosteroids (used to treat a variety of conditions, such as severe inflammation of the skin or
in asthma)

other medicines used to treat diabetes
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, have recently taken or might take any other
medicines.
Glucophage with food and drink
Do not drink alcohol when you take this medicine. Alcohol may increase the risk of lactic acidosis
especially if you have liver problems or if you are undernourished. This also applies to medicines that
contain alcohol.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding
During pregnancy, you need insulin to treat your diabetes. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, think
you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, so that he or she may change your treatment.
This medicine is not recommended if you are breast-feeding or if you are planning to breast-feed your
baby.
Driving and using machines
Glucophage on its own does not cause hypoglycaemia (a blood glucose level which is too low). This
means that it will not affect your ability to drive or use machines.
However, take special care if you take Glucophage together with other medicines to treat diabetes that
can cause hypoglycaemia (such as sulphonylureas, insulin, meglitinides). Symptoms of
hypoglycaemia include weakness, dizziness, increased sweating, fast heart beat, vision disorders or
difficulty in concentration. Do not drive or use machines if you start to feel these symptoms.
Important information about some of the ingredients of Glucophage powder
Glucophage powder for oral solution contains aspartame, a source of phenylalanine.
If you have phenylketonuria (a rare, hereditary disorder that unables your body to use phenylalanine),
Glucophage powder for oral solution may be harmful for you. Talk to your doctor before you start
taking this medicine.

3.

How to take Glucophage

Always take this medicine exactly as your doctor has told you. Check with your doctor or pharmacist
if you are not sure.
Glucophage cannot replace the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Continue to follow any advice about diet
that your doctor has given you and get some regular exercise.
Recommended dose
Children 10 years and over and adolescents usually start with 500 mg or 850 mg Glucophage once a
day. The maximum daily dose is 2000 mg taken as 2 or 3 divided doses. Treatment of children
between 10 and 12 years of age is only recommended on specific advice from your doctor, as
experience in this age group is limited.
Adults usually start with 500 mg or 850 mg Glucophage two or three times a day. The maximum daily
dose is 3000 mg taken as 3 divided doses.
In renal impaired patients with a GFR between 45 and 60 ml/min, the starting dose is 500 mg or 850
mg metformin hydrochloride, once daily. The maximum dose is 1000 mg daily, given as 2 divided
doses. The renal function should be closely monitored (every 3 - 6 months).

If you take insulin too, your doctor will tell you how to start Glucophage.
Monitoring

Your doctor will perform regular blood glucose tests and will adapt your dose of Glucophage to
your blood glucose levels. Make sure that you talk to your doctor regularly. This is particularly
important for children and adolescents or if you are an older person.

Your doctor will also check at least once a year how well your kidneys work. You may need
more frequent checks if you are an older person or if your kidneys are not working normally.
How to take Glucophage
Take Glucophage with or after a meal. This will avoid you having side effects affecting your
digestion.
Pour the powder into a glass and add 150 ml water to get a clear to slightly cloudy solution. Drink the
solution immediately after preparation. If necessary, stir the solution.

If you take one dose a day, take it in the morning (breakfast)

If you take two divided doses a day, take them in the morning (breakfast) and evening (dinner)

If you take three divided doses a day, take them in the morning (breakfast), at noon (lunch) and
in the evening (dinner)
If, after some time, you think that the effect of Glucophage is too strong or too weak, talk to your
doctor or pharmacist.
If you take more Glucophage than you should
If you have taken more Glucophage that you should have, you may experience lactic acidosis.
Symptoms of lactic acidosis are non-specific such as vomiting, bellyache (abdominal pain) with
muscle cramps, a general feeling of not being well with severe tiredness, and difficulty in breathing.
Further symptoms are reduced body temperature and heart beat. If you experience some of these
symptoms, you should seek immediately medical attention, as lactic acidosis may lead to coma.
Stop taking Glucophage immediately and contact a doctor or the nearest hospital straight away.
If you forget to take Glucophage
Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose. Take the next dose at the usual time.
If you have any further questions on the use of this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

4.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
Lactic acidosis
Lactic acidosis is a very rare side effect (may effect up to 1 in 10,000 people) but a serious
complication particularly if your kidneys are not working properly. Symptoms of lactic acidosis are
non-specific such as vomitting, bellyache (abdominal pain) with muscle cramps, a general feeling of
not being well with severe tiredness, and difficulty in breathing. Further symptoms are reduced body
temperature and heart beat. If you experience some of these symptoms, you should seek
immediately medical attention, as lactic acidosis may lead to coma. Stop taking Glucophage
immediately and contact a doctor or the nearest hospital straight away.
Liver function
Abnormalities in liver function tests or hepatitis (inflammation of the liver; this may cause tiredness,
loss of appetite, weight loss, with or without yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes) are very rare
side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10,000 people). If this happens to you, stop taking Glucophage
and talk to your doctor.

Digestive problems
Digestive problems, such as feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomitting), diarrhoea, bellyache
(abdominal pain) and loss of appetite are very common side effects (may affect more than 1 in 10
people). These side effects most often happen at the beginning of the treatment with Glucophage. It
helps if you spread the doses over the day and if you take Glucophage with or straight after a meal. If
symptoms continue, stop taking Glucophage and talk to your doctor.
Common side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)

changes in taste.
Very rare side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10,000 people)

skin reactions such as redness of the skin (erythema), itching or an itchy rash (hives).

low vitamin B12 levels in the blood.
Children and adolescents
Limited data in children and adolescents showed that side effects were similar in nature and severity to
those reported in adults.
Reporting of side effects
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. This includes any possible side effects
not listed in this leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at:
www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.
By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.

5.

How to store Glucophage

Keep this medicine out of the sight and reach of children. If a child is treated with Glucophage, parents
and caregivers are advised to oversee how this medicine is used.
This medicine does not require any special storage conditions.
Do not use this medicine after the expiry date which is stated on the carton or the sachet after 'EXP'.
The expiry date refers to the last day of that month.
Do not throw away any medicines via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to
throw away medicines you no longer use. These measures will help protect the environment.

6.

Contents of the pack and other information

What Glucophage contains



The active substance is metformin hydrochloride. Each sachet contains 500 mg metformin
hydrochloride corresponding to 390 mg metformin base.
The other ingredients are acesulfame potassium, aspartame (E951), citric acid anhydrous,
erythritol, maize starch, pullulan PI-20.

What Glucophage looks like and contents of the pack
Glucophage 500 mg is a powder for oral solution in sachets, the powder is white and odourless.
Each pack contains 20, 30 or 60 single-dose sachets.
Not all pack sizes may be marketed.
Marketing Authorisation Holder

Merck Serono Limited
Bedfont Cross
Stanwell Road
Feltham
Middlesex
TW14 8NX
United Kingdom
Manufacturer
Merck, S.L.
Poligono Merck
08100 Mollet del Valles (Barcelona)
Spain
or
Merck Santé s.a.s.
2 rue du Pressoir Vert
45400 Semoy
France
This medicinal product is authorised in the Member States of the EEA under the following
names:
Glucophage: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, United
Kingdom

This leaflet was last revised in 12/2014

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Source: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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