Glucophage is a treatment commonly prescribed to patients affected by diabetes. It is available in three forms – as a standard tablet, a powder which is made into a drinkable solution and a slow-release tablet. In either version, Glucophage accomplishes its task of maintaining the safe levels of blood sugar by relying on its active ingredient, a well-known diabetes treatment, metformin.

This type of antidiabetic medicines is classified as biguanide and it helps the body produce and properly use insulin. If you are looking to buy Glucophage in the UK, you will first have to obtain a prescription from a certified medical professional.

What’s on this page?

Diabetes: A general introduction

Most cases of diabetes can be classified as either type 1 or type 2. And while both are lifelong conditions that cannot be cured, but only managed, type 1 diabetes tends to manifest during the early years of a person’s life and is classified as a type of autoimmune disease, while type 2 usually develops in the later years usually due to numerous external factors, including unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Regardless, both types are characterised by impaired bodily function related to the production and processing of insulin, although in cases of type 1 diabetes, the body will stop producing insulin altogether.

According to recent estimates, roughly 3 million people living in the UK are affected by diabetes with nine out of ten of those being affected by type 2 diabetes. While some symptoms tend to vary between individuals, those most common one include:

  • Constant thirst
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Increased frequency of urge to urinate
  • Dryness of the eyes

If left untreated, diabetes type 2 will increase in severity which is why it is important to visit a doctor as soon as you notice any symptoms that might be indicative of this condition.

In order to help the body generate the energy it needs to function, the pancreas gland produces a hormone called insulin. This naturally synthesised compound plays a central role in converting and transporting glucose, also known as blood sugar, to cells throughout the body, thus providing them with the energy needed to function properly.

In people affected with type 2 diabetes, one of the following problems will manifest:

  • Pancreas does not produce enough insulin to handle the amount of sugar in the blood
  • Body develops resistance to the effects of insulin, making it difficult for the energy conversion to happen

What causes diabetes?

There are numerous risk factors which might serve as additional indicators that you might be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These include the family history of diabetes, age (people older than 40 are at significantly greater risk), or if you are of south Asian, Chinese, African or Caribbean descent. Finally, and as is familiar to most, obesity and being overweight are also seen as very prominent contributing factors when it comes to development of diabetes type 2.

Diabetes treatment and management

Diabetes is a health condition that is progressive in nature, meaning that if it is left untreated, it can lead to further more severe complications such as heart disease, kidney failure or nerve damage. This is why timely beginning treatment is absolutely vital for successful management of the condition. It is important to note that, as of now, there is no known way to completely cure diabetes – this condition will be a lifelong issue ever since it first manifests. However, despite this, diabetes can be successfully managed using a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes and prescription medicines.

In the early stages of the condition, medical experts usually recommend non-medicinal approaches such as regular exercise, stopping smoking, limiting alcohol use, losing weight, adopting a specific dietary regime or exercising regularly.

Regardless of this, at one point it will become impossible to properly manage the illness just using these techniques and use of prescription medication will be required in order to prevent further complications and damage to the organism.

How does Glucophage help with diabetes?

The efficiency of Glucophage relies on its active ingredient, a well-known pharmaceutical compound called metformin. Metformin is classified as a biguanide and it works simultaneously in three different ways to keep the blood sugar levels under control:

  • Reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver
  • Increasing muscular cells’ receptiveness to insulin (helping to extract sugar from the blood)
  • Inhibiting the absorption of sugars in the digestive tract

Glucophage is a branded diabetes medicine, produced and marketed by Merck Serono pharmaceutical company.

How is Glucophage used?

In order to ensure best possible results when using Glucophage while simultaneously minimising the chances of side effects, you should precisely follow the instructions provided by your prescriber. If you have any questions regarding the treatment or the medicine, you should contact your doctor or pharmacist, or alternatively, refer to the official patient information leaflet that is provided with the medicine.

How to use regular Glucophage tablets?

  • Typically prescribed dose is two to three tablets per day (spaced out accordingly)
  • Maximum safe dose is 3000mg (as separate administration)
  • Take the tablet after a meal
  • Take the tablet whole, with water

How to use Glucophage powder?

  • The commonly prescribed dose is between 500mg and 850mg, two to three times per day, with maximum daily dose being 3000mg
  • Glucophage powder should be administered either with meal or after it
  • To make a solution, place the contents of the sachet into a glass and add 150ml of water. Stir until the liquid is mildly cloudy
  • Drink the solution immediately after preparation

How to use Glucophage slow-release tablets?

  • Initial dose is one 500mg tablet daily
  • After two weeks of treatment, the dose might be increased
  • Maximum daily dose is 2000mg
  • In most cases, the tablets should be taken once a day, usually with dinner
  • If the doctor recommends to split your administration into two daily doses, you should still consume each of them with a meal

Are there any Glucophage side effects?

As is the case with every prescription medicine, Glucophage too comes with an array of possible side effects. Any symptoms indicative of lactic acidosis or an allergic reaction should be immediately reported to the emergency services.

In addition to this, it is important to note that side effects for Glucophage tablets can be somewhat different than side effects of the powder solution.

Glucophage powder solution side effects

Frequency of occurrence

Side effects

Common (1 in 10 users)

Taste disturbance, general malaise, influenza-like symptoms

Very rare (1 in 10.000 users)

Skin reactions such as erythema, itching, hives; vitamin B12 deficiency

Glucophage tablets side effects

Frequency of occurrence

Side effects

Very common (1 in 10 users or more) 

Digestive problems, general malaise, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite

Common (1 in 10 users or less)

Taste disturbance

Very rare (1 in 10.000 users)

Lactic acidosis, hepatitis, skin reactions, vitamin B12 deficiency

Glucophage contraindications

When it comes to adverse and unwanted interactions with other medicines, Glucophage has been known to interact with glucocorticoids, beta-2 agonists, other diabetes medicines, diuretics, ACE inhibitors and drugs affecting the thyroid gland or nervous system.

On the other hand, the use of Glucophage will be contraindicated if you have an upcoming x-ray contrast scan or a surgery. In addition to this, you should not use Glucophage if you have:

  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Ketoacidosis
  • Severe dehydration
  • Severe infection
  • Recent heart attack, heart failure or serious circulatory problems
  • Alcoholism

In addition to this, Glucophage should also be avoided if you are pregnant or are currently breastfeeding.