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HOME >> API >> API List 2 >> Metformin Hcl

Molecular Structure

Metformin Hcl CAS number 657-24-9

Metformin Hcl
pdf api

Molecular Weight 165.62

CAS number

ATC code A10BA02

A10BD02 (with sulfonylureas)
A10BD03 (with rosiglitazone)
A10BD05 (with pioglitazone)
A10BD07 (with sitagliptin)
A10BD08 (with vildagliptin)
PubChem 4091
DrugBank APRD01099

Chemical data

Formula C4H11N5
Mol. mass 129.164 g/mol
165.63 g/mol (hydrochloride)
Synonyms 1,1-dimethylbiguanide
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 50 to 60% under fasting conditions
Metabolism None
Half life 6.2 hours
Excretion Active renal tubular excretion by OCT2

Metformin HCl is a medication that is often prescribed to treat diabetes. It is used for decreasing blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Metformin HCl is an abbreviation for metformin hydrochloride.

The medication works in several ways. It reduces the amount of sugar made by the liver, limits the amount of sugar absorbed into the body from the diet, and makes insulin receptors more sensitive (helping the body respond better to its own insulin). All of these effects cause a decrease in blood sugar levels.

Metformin HCl is typically taken one to three times a day and comes in several forms and strengths. It comes in tablet form, two different long-acting forms, and a liquid version.

Using Metformin for Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes (see Diabetes Types). It is also sometimes called adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a condition involving insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, the cells of the body do not respond to insulin as well as they normally should. As a result, the cells of the body do not remove sugar from the blood very well. This is why type 2 diabetics have high blood sugar.

Over time, high blood sugar can lead to a number of problems, including diabetic impotence, diabetic neuropathy, kidney failure, and heart disease (see Diabetes Complications). The cause of type 2 diabetes is not fully understood, although it is known that obesity and genetics play an important role.

There are many ways to treat high blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Some diabetes medications force the pancreas to produce more insulin (see Alternatives to Metformin). These medications are effective, but can cause dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Metformin works differently, having several effects in the body. The drug lowers blood sugar by the following actions:

  • Decreasing the amount of sugar (glucose) made by the liver
  • Decreasing the amount of sugar absorbed into the body (from food)
  • Making insulin receptors more sensitive, helping the body respond better to insulin.

Because metformin does not force the pancreas to produce more insulin, it is much less likely to cause dangerously low blood sugar levels compared to many other diabetes medications (see Metformin and Blood Sugar).

An Overview of Metformin Dosage Information
The dose of metformin or metformin ER your healthcare provider prescribes will vary depending on a number of factors, including:

  • How well your diabetes is controlled
  • Other medical conditions you may have
  • Other medications you may currently be taking.

As is always the case, do not adjust your dosage unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.

Metformin Dosing for Type 2 Diabetes
For regular (not long-acting) metformin, the dosing varies with age, as follows:

Age 10 to 16 -- The recommended starting dose is metformin 500 mg twice daily. The maximum dose for people in this age group is metformin 2000 mg total per day, divided into two or three doses.

Age 17 and over -- The recommended starting dose is metformin 500 mg twice daily or 850 mg once daily. The maximum dose for people in this age group is 2550 mg total daily, divided into two or three doses per day.

For the long-acting form, metformin ER, the starting dose is metformin ER 500 mg once daily, and the maximum dose is metformin ER 2000 mg once daily (or metformin ER 1000 mg twice daily).

Metformin Dosing With Insulin
The recommended starting dose of both metformin and metformin ER for people taking
insulin is 500 mg once daily. The maximum total daily dose for people taking insulin is 2500 mg for metformin and 2000 mg for metformin ER. Usually, when adding metformin to insulin, you should continue with your normal insulin dose.

Metformin Overdose
As with any medication, it is possible to overdose on metformin. Some of the effects of a metformin overdose may include low blood sugar or lactic acidosis. Symptoms of low blood sugar include blurred vision, shakiness, and extreme hunger. Some symptoms of lactic acidosis can include an irregular heartbeat, trouble breathing, and feeling tired. There are some treatment options for a metformin overdose, including dialysis or using a sugar solution to increase blood sugar levels.

Metformin Overdose: An Overview
Metformin is a prescription medication that has been licensed to treat type 2 diabetes. As with all medicines, it is possible to take too much metformin. Effects of a metformin overdose will vary depending on a number of factors, including how much metformin was taken and whether it was taken with any other medicines, alcohol, and/or drugs.

If you happen to overdose on metformin, seek medical attention immediately.

Symptoms of a Metformin Overdose

The effects of a metformin overdose may include:

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Lactic acidosis (see Metformin and Lactic Acidosis).

Possible symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Extreme hunger
  • Dizziness
  • Cold sweats
  • Blurry vision.

More severe low blood sugar symptoms include:

  • Changes in behavior, such as irritability
  • Loss of coordination
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Loss of life.

Lactic acidosis symptoms include:

  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Muscle pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Abdominal pain (or stomach pain)
  • Feeling cold
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • A slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of life.
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