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Information for Consumers

Revised: 11 June 2015

Consumer Medicine Information

Metformin Generic Health tablets

Metformin Hydrochloride 500 mg and 850 mg tablets

What is in this leaflet

This leaflet answers some common questions about Metformin Generic Health tablets.

It does not contain all the available information. It does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist

All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you taking Metformin Generic Health tablets against the benefits it is expected to have for you.

If you have any concerns about taking this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Keep this leaflet with the medicine. You may want to read it again.

What Metformin Generic Health tablets is used for

The name of your medicine is Metformin Generic Health tablets. It contains the active ingredient Metformin hydrochloride.

Metformin is used to control blood glucose in patients with diabetes mellitus, when diet and exercise are not enough to control blood glucose.

There are two types of diabetes mellitus:

Metformin can be used in patients with Type I diabetes mellitus where insulin alone is not enough to control your blood glucose levels.

Metformin can also be used in patients with Type II diabetes. It can be used alone, or in combination with other medicines for treating diabetes.

Your doctor may have prescribed Metformin Generic Health tablets for another reason. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why Metformin Generic Health tablets were prescribed for you.

How Metformin Generic Health tablets work

Metformin belongs to a group of medicines called biguanides.

Metformin lowers high blood glucose by helping your body make better use of the insulin produced by your pancreas.

If your blood glucose is not properly controlled, you may experience hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) or hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose). High blood glucose can lead to serious problems with your heart, eyes, circulation or kidneys.

Low blood glucose can occur suddenly. Signs may include:

If not treated promptly, these may progress to:

High blood glucose usually occurs more slowly than low blood glucose. Signs of high blood glucose may include:

There is no evidence that Metformin Generic Health tablets are addictive.

Before you take Metformin Generic Health tablets

When you must not take Metformin Generic Health tablets

Do not take Metformin tablets if you have had an allergic reaction to medicines containing metformin or any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to these medicines may include:

If you are not sure if you have an allergy to Metformin ask your doctor.

Do not take metformin if you have any of the following medical conditions:

If you are not sure if you have any of the above, ask your doctor

Do not take Metformin Generic Health tablets if you are pregnant or intend becoming pregnant.

Insulin is more suitable for controlling blood glucose during pregnancy. Your doctor will replace Metformin Generic Health tablets with insulin.

Do not take Metformin Generic Health tablets after the expiry date (EXP) printed on the pack.

If you take this medicine after the expiry date has passed, it may not work (as well).

Do not take Metformin Generic Health tablets if the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering.

If you are not sure whether you should start taking Metformin Generic Health tablet, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Before you start to take it

Tell your doctor if you have allergies to:

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breast-feed.

It is not known whether metformin passes into breast-milk.

Metformin is usually not recommended while you are breast-feeding. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of taking Metformin when breast-feeding.

Tell your doctor if you have or have had any medical conditions, especially the following:

Tell your doctor if:

Alcohol, diet, exercise, and your general health all strongly affect the control of your diabetes. Discuss these things with your doctor.

If you have not told your doctor, pharmacist or diabetes educator about any of the above, tell them before you start taking Metformin.

Taking other medicines

Tell your doctor, pharmacist or diabetes educator if you are taking any other medicines, including medicines you buy without a prescription from a pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.

Some medicines may hide the symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia). These include:

Some medicines and Metformin Generic Health tablets may interfere with each other. These include:

You may need different amounts of your medicine or you may need to take different medicines. Your doctor, pharmacist or diabetes educator can tell you what to do if you are taking any of these medicines. They also have a more complete list of medicines to be careful with or avoid while taking Metformin.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure if you are taking any of these medicines.

How to take Metformin Generic Health tablets

Follow all directions given to you by your doctor, pharmacist or diabetes educator carefully.

They may differ from the information contained in this leaflet.

If you do not understand the instructions on the box, ask your doctor or pharmacist for help.

Your doctor will tell you how much to take and when to take it.

Take Metformin Generic Health tablets exactly as directed by your doctor.

How much to take

The dose varies from patient to patient. Your doctor will decide the right dose for you.

The usual dose for metformin for adults is 500 mg one to three times a day, up to a maximum of 1 g three times a day.

Your doctor may increase or decrease the dose, depending on your blood glucose levels.

Metformin Generic Health tablets can be taken by children with diabetes that cannot be controlled with insulin and who are being treated in hospital. Your child's doctor will decide the dose.

How to take it

Swallow the tablets with a glass of water.

When to take it

Take Metformin Generic Health tablets during or immediately after a meal, at about the same time each day.

This will reduce the chance of a stomach upset.

Do not skip meals while taking Metformin.

How long to take it

Continue taking Metformin Generic Health tablets for as long as your doctor recommends. Make sure you keep enough Metformin Generic Health tablets to last over weekends and holidays.

Metformin Generic Health tablets will help control your diabetes but will not cure it. Therefore, you may have to take it for a long time.

If you forget to take it

If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take your next dose when you are meant to.

Otherwise, take it as soon as you remember (with food), and then go back to taking your medicine as you would normally.

Do not take a double dose to make up for the dose you have missed.

If you double a dose, this may cause low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).

If you are not sure whether to skip the dose, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

If you take too much (overdose)

Immediately contact a doctor or Poisons Information Centre (telephone 0800 POISON and 0800 764 766), or go to the your nearest Accident and Emergency department or clinic, if you think that you or someone else may have taken too much of this medicine. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning.

Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. If you take too much Metformin together with other medicines for diabetes or alcohol, you may experience symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).

At the first signs of hypoglycaemia, raise your blood glucose quickly by eating jelly beans, sugar or honey, drinking non-diet soft drink or taking glucose tablets.

If not treated quickly, these symptoms may progress to loss of co-ordination, slurred speech, confusion, fits or loss of consciousness.

If you take too much Metformin, you may feel sick, vomit, have trouble breathing and have stomach pain or diarrhoea. These may be the early signs of a serious condition called lactic acidosis.

If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately get medical help.

While you are using Metformin Generic Health tablets

Things you must do

Tell your doctor if:

Tell all doctors, dentists and pharmacists who are treating you that you are taking Metformin.

Make sure you, your friends, family and work colleagues can recognise the symptoms of low blood sugar and high blood sugar and know how to treat them.

If you experience any of the symptoms of low blood sugar, you need to raise your blood glucose immediately. You can do this by doing one of the following:

Unless you are within 10 to 15 minutes of your next meal or snack, follow up with extra carbohydrates such as plain biscuits, fruit or milk. Taking this extra carbohydrate will prevent a second drop in your blood glucose level.

Metformin does not normally cause low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) unless you are also taking other medicines for diabetes such as insulin or sulfonylureas.

If you experience any of the signs of high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia), contact your doctor immediately.

The risk of high blood sugar is increased in the following situations:

Tell your doctor if you become ill, seriously dehydrated (have lost a large amount of body fluids) or experience injury, fever, extra stress, infection or need surgery.

You are more at risk of developing a serious condition called lactic acidosis at these times. Your doctor may decide to change your treatment and use insulin instead of metformin.

Make sure you check your blood glucose levels regularly.

This is the best way to tell if your diabetes is being controlled properly. Your doctor or diabetes educator will show you how and when to do this.

Tell your doctor, dentist or anaesthetist that you are taking Metformin before you have any surgery or X-ray procedures that require injection of contrast agents.

Your doctor may decide that Metformin should be stopped prior to these procedures.

Visit your doctor for regular checks of your eyes/feet/ kidneys/heart/circulation/blood/ blood pressure .

See your doctor once a year for a check on your body's level of vitamin B12.

Carefully follow your doctor's and/or dietician's advice on diet, drinking alcohol and exercise.

Tell your doctor immediately if you notice the return of any symptoms you had before starting Metformin.

These may include lethargy or tiredness, headache, thirst, passing large amounts of urine and blurred vision.

These may be signs that Metformin is no longer working, even though you may have been taking it successfully for some time.

Things you must not do

Do not give Metformin to anyone else, even if they have the same condition as you.

Do not skip meals while taking Metformin.

Do not let yourself run out of medicine over the weekend or on holidays

Things to be careful of

If you have to be alert, for example, when driving, be especially careful not to let your blood glucose levels fall too low.

Low blood glucose levels may slow your reaction time and affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. Drinking alcohol can make this worse. However, Metformin by itself is unlikely to affect how you drive or operate machinery.

If you are travelling, it is a good idea to:

If you become sick with a cold, fever or flu, it is very important to continue taking Metformin, even if you feel unable to eat your normal meal. If you have trouble eating solid food, use sugar-sweetened drinks as a carbohydrate substitute or eat small amounts of bland food.

Your diabetes educator or dietician can give you a list of foods to use for sick days.

Side effects

Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking Metformin Generic Health tablets.

Metformin Generic Health tablets help most people with diabetes, but it may have unwanted side effects in a few people.

All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not. You may need medical treatment if you get some of the side effects. If you are over 65 years of age you may have an increased chance of getting side effects.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.

Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following and they worry you:

These are generally mild side effects which usually occur during the first few weeks. Taking Metformin Generic Health tablets with meals can help reduce nausea and diarrhoea. Skin rash is rare; it is usually not serious and should go away in a few days.

Tell your doctor immediately or go to the accident and emergency department at your nearest hospital if you notice any of the following symptoms of lactic acidosis (high lactic acid in the blood):

You may need urgent medical attention if these symptoms occur. Lactic acidosis with Metformin is rare and mostly happens to people who are ill or whose kidneys are not working properly.

Tell your doctor if you notice any other effects.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients.

Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects.

You may not experience any of them.

After using Metformin Generic Health tablets

Storage

Keep your tablets in the pack until it is time to take them.

If you take the tablets out of the pack, they may not keep well.

Keep them in a cool, dry place where it stays below 30°C.

Do not store Metformin or any other medicine, in a bathroom or near a sink.

Do not leave them in the car on hot days or on window sills.

Heat and dampness can destroy some Medicines.

Keep them where children cannot reach them.

A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines.

Disposal

If your doctor tells you to stop using the tablets, or the tablets have passed their expiry date, ask your pharmacist what to do with any tablets left over.

Product description

What Metformin Generic Health tablets looks like

Metformin Generic Health 500 mg tablets: White to off white, round, bevelled edged, biconvex film coated tablets with '500' embossed on one side.

Metformin Generic Health 850 mg tablets: White to off white, round, bevelled edged, biconvex film coated tablets with '850' embossed on one side.

Available in blister packs of 60 tablets.

Tablet Ingredients

Active ingredient

Excipients

Supplier

Douglas Pharmaceuticals Limited,
P O Box 45 027,
Lincoln,
Auckland 0651

Telephone: (09) 835 0660

Date of information

April 2009

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