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METFORMIN TABLETS BP
BEFORE YOU TAKE YOUR MEDICINE PLEASE READ THIS LEAFLET CAREFULLY
This leaflet contains a summary of the information about your medicine, Metformin Tablets
Your medicine is in the form of a tablet. There are two different strengths of Metformin
Tablets BP available. Each tablet contains either 500 mg or 850 mg of the active ingredient
Metformin Hydrochloride BP.
Each tablet also contains povidone, magnesium stearate, hydroxypropylmethylcellulose,
ethylcellulose, diethyl phthalate, ethyl acetate, cellacephate and talc. The 500 mg tablet is
white and marked ‘MF1’ whilst the 850 mg tablet is white and marked ‘MF2’.
Metformin Tablets BP are available in containers and blister packs of 7,10, 14, 15, 20, 21, 25,
28, 30, 56, 60, 84, 90, 100, 112, 120, 168, 250, 300, 500 and 1000 tablets* (*Only marketed
pack sizes will feature on the printed leaflet).
Your pharmacist will dispense the number of tablets prescribed by your doctor.
†Distributed by: name and address of own label supplier
(†Shown on own label supplier leaflets only - although such leaflets may be presented
in the supplier’s artwork style and may show the company logo, the text will be
identical to that presented herein)
Product Licence Holder and Manufacturer: Generics [UK] Limited, Station Close, Potters
Bar, Herts EN6 1TL
HOW DOES YOUR MEDICINE WORK ?
METFORMIN is an antidiabetic agent which can help to reduce blood sugar if you suffer
from NON-INSULIN DEPENDENT DIABETES MELLITUS. This condition is also called
maturity onset or Type II diabetes mellitus. This type of diabetes can occur if your pancreas
does not produce enough insulin or if your body becomes resistant to insulin. Insulin is a
natural chemical which is released by the pancreas and which helps your body to use sugar in
your food for energy. Metformin belongs to a group of medicines called BIGUANIDES
which act by slowing down the amount of glucose (blood sugar) produced in the body as well
as helping the body to use the sugar in your food for energy. Your doctor will prescribe
Metformin Tablets BP for you if your diabetes cannot be controlled by either diet or other
medicine. Metformin Tablets BP are suitable for overweight patients.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO BEFORE TAKING YOUR MEDICINE ?
You must tell your doctor before taking your medicine if
• you are allergic (hypersensitive) to metformin or any of the other ingredients of this
• you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant
• you are breast feeding
• you suffer from kidney or liver disease
• you are suffering from dehydration
• you are recovering from a heart attack, have a heart condition have severe problems with
your circulation or have breathing difficulties. This may lead to a lack in oxygen supply
to tissue, which can put you at risk for lactic acidosis
• you are suffering from shock, stress, injury or an infection
• you have an alcohol problem
• you have uncontrolled diabetes, such as severe hyperglycaemia or ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis is a condition in which substances called ‘ketone bodies’ accumulate in
the blood. Symptoms include stomach pain, fast and deep breathing, sleepiness or
unusual fruity odour of the breath
• you are already taking any of the following medicines:
- cimetidine, to treat heartburn, stomach or gut ulcers
- anticoagulants e.g. warfarin, to thin the blood
- diuretics, used to remove water from the body by making more urine
- sympathomimetics, such as salbutamol, terbutaline, ephedrine and
phenylephrine, which are used to treat asthma, as decongestants and to increase
- glucocorticoids, treatments to reduce inflammation and allergic reactions
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 Metformin 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.
Metformin may cause a very rare, but serious complication called lactic acidosis, particularly
if your kidneys are not working properly. Symptoms of lactic acidosis are vomiting, bellyache
(abdominal pain) with muscle cramps, a general feeling of not being well with severe
tiredness, and difficulty in breathing. If this happens to you, you may need immediate
treatment. Stop taking Metformin immediately and tell your doctor straight away.
Metformin on its own does not cause hypoglycaemia (a blood glucose level which is too low).
However, if you take Metformin together with other medicines to treat diabetes that can cause
hypoglycaemia (such as sulphonylureas, insulin, glinides), 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.
WHILE TAKING METFORMIN TABLETS BP
Your blood or urine glucose (sugar) level must be regularly checked. Ask your doctor how to
do this if you are not sure.
If you are taking Metformin Tablets BP for a long time, your doctor will check your kidney
function and each year will check that the amount of vitamin B12 in your blood has not
changed, as changes have been found in some patients.
Your doctor should stop your treatment with Metformin immediately before you have a
clinical investigation, you will be advised not to take your dose for approximately 2 days after
Your doctor should stop your treatment with Metformin 2-3 days before you have surgery.
DO NOT drink alcohol whilst taking Metformin Tablets BP
HOW SHOULD YOU TAKE YOUR TABLETS ?
Regular exercise and a good diet are important factors in helping to control your diabetes.
Your doctor will tell you how to check your blood and urine glucose (sugar) level. If you are
unsure check with your doctor.
Metformin Tablets BP should be taken with or after food. This will reduce the likelihood
of side effects such as a stomach upset.
Your doctor will usually start you on either one 500 mg tablet of Metformin three times a day
or one 850 mg tablet of Metformin twice a day. Depending on how your blood sugar level
responds, your doctor may slowly increase your dose up to a maximum of 3 grams daily.
Once your diabetes has stabilised, your dose may be reduced.
Metformin Tablets BP may be taken by elderly patients unless they have kidney problems.
Metformin Tablets BP treat the type of diabetes that is not usually found in children.
If you are not sure how to take your medicine ask your doctor or pharmacist.
If you forget to take a dose take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your
next dose though, do not double the dose just carry on as before.
If you take too much of your medicine contact your doctor immediately
Too much Metformin will cause your blood sugar level to drop too low (hypoglycaemia).
This unwanted effect is more likely to occur if you are already taking another diabetic
medicine or alcohol with the Metformin Tablets BP. Hypoglycaemia may cause the following
side effects including stomach pains, feeling anxious, chills and cold sweats, looking pale and
feeling confused, a fast heartbeat, shakiness, feeling unusually tired or weak, feeling and
being sick. If this happens have a sugary drink or eat something sugary right away. If left
untreated, hypoglycaemia can lead to loss of consciousness which must be treated by a
You may also experience lactic acidosis. Symptoms of lactic acidosis are vomiting, bellyache
(abdominal pain) with muscle cramps, a general feeling of not being well with severe
tiredness, and difficulty in breathing. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist straight away.
CAN YOUR MEDICINE HAVE ANY SIDE EFFECTS ?
The most common side effects, most often noticed at the start of treatment include feeling or
being sick, diarrhoea, bellyache (abdominal pain) and loss of appetite. These unwanted effects
should go away on continuing treatment. You must tell your doctor if these symptoms
continue. Other common symptoms include changes in taste.
Rarely, you may experience lactic acidosis. This is a very rare but serious complication
particularly if your kidneys are not working properly. If you get this complication, you will
need immediate treatment. Symptoms of lactic acidosis are vomiting, bellyache (abdominal
pain) with muscle cramps, a general feeling of not being well with severe tiredness, and
difficulty in breathing. If this happens to you, stop taking Metformin immediately and tell
your doctor straight away. Rare side effects also include: skin reactions such as redness of
the skin (erythema), itching or an itchy rash (urticaria); low vitamin B12 levels in the blood;
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). If this happens to you, stop taking this medicine.
If you should suffer from any of these unwanted side effects or any undesired effect
please tell your pharmacist or doctor.
DO NOT TAKE THIS MEDICINE AFTER THE EXPIRY DATE SHOWN ON THE
REMEMBER this medicine was prescribed by your doctor for you.
DO NOT give it to others. It may harm them.
Store below 25°C in a dry place
Date of preparation of leaflet: November 1996
August 2010 Revision
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.