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Metformin

Metformin is one of the most common treatments for type-2 diabetes. It helps to regulate blood glucose levels by limiting how much sugar the liver produces and releases into the blood. As a result of this, your body becomes more sensitive to insulin, so it’s better able to remove excess sugar from your blood. 

<p>It can also be used for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), although it isn’t licenced for this condition. However, the NHS and BNF both state on their websites that the drug is safe to use for certain symptoms of PCOS.</p>


Metformin is a first-line treatment for type-2 diabetes, meaning that it is often the first treatment given to those that are diagnosed with it. Some people are able to manage their condition by just taking metformin, whilst others may need to take it in conjunction with another diabetes treatment such as insulin, though this is something that your doctor or diabetic team should discuss with you.

To buy metformin online, please click the button below to answer some questions about your condition so that our doctors can decide whether it’s suitable for you. If your consultation is approved, one of our doctors will generate a prescription for metformin which will be dispensed and shipped from our UK-based partner pharmacy.

Please see Meformin Patient Information Leaflet

Last PIL Review Date: 11/03/2019

£ 12.99 InStock
Please note a final decision on a suitable medicine for your condition will be made by our prescriber once you have completed a consultation PLEASE CLICK HERE TO ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SYMPTOMS
Please note all the answers are reviewed by a doctor to assess eligibility
1
2

Please use a minimum of 1 words.

3
  • Allergy to metformin
  • Severely reduced kidney function
  • Liver problems
  • Uncontrolled diabetes with hyperglycaemia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, rapid weight loss, lactic acidosis or ketoacidosis
  • Severe infection
  • Heart failure
  • Recent heart attack
  • Problems with your circulation
  • Breathing difficulties
4
  • Iodine dye inection for diagnostic imaging
  • Diuretics
  • NSAIDs
  • COX-2 inhibitors
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor antagonists
  • Beta-2 receptor agonists
  • Salbutamol
  • Terbutaline
  • Corticosteroids
  • Other medicines used to treat diabetes (unless prescribed by your own GP to use in conjunction with metformin)
5

Please use a minimum of 1 words.

6
7
  • You have an allergy to metformin
  • You've used this treatment in the past and suffered from serious side effects
  • You're already taking metformin in another medicinal form, or to treat another condition
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Dr. Daniel Cichi GMC No. 6163403

Dr Daniel Cichi has 20 years experience as a doctor and now he is a senior GP. He worked in A&E departments, GP surgeries and on cruise ships.

Shamir Patel GPHC No. 2049338

Shamir is a well-respected pharmacist with extensive experience running online pharmacies in the UK.

Metformin tablet

Metformin tablets are often used to help to control blood glucose levels in patients that have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It is considered a first-line treatment, and is one of the most common medications used for managing the condition, alongside insulin.

Metformin tablets are usually prescribed when diet and lifestyle changes haven’t done enough to bring your blood glucose to a safe and normal level, and they can help you to manage your diabetes better, reducing the risk of hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar), hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), and other diabetes-related illnesses and symptoms.

How does metformin work?

Metformin works by allowing your body to respond better to insulin, something that people with type 2 diabetes often struggle with. By allowing your body to utilise insulin in a better way, your blood glucose levels are more controlled, and often, metformin can be enough to bring your blood sugar into a normal range when used alongside a healthy lifestyle.

One of the most common problems with type 2 diabetes is that blood sugar levels are too high. Metformin helps to solve this problem by reducing how much sugar is produced within the liver, and subsequently how much is released into the blood. In turn, this allows the insulin in your body to remove any excess sugar, meaning that your blood glucose levels should stabilise at a normal level.

By controlling your blood glucose levels, you’ll be less likely to suffer from diabetes-related complications.

In PCOS, the drug has also been known to reduce excess hair and also improve the body’s response to insulin, as the condition can also make it difficult for the body to utilise the hormone in the right ways.

As many women with PCOS also struggle with insulin resistance, metformin works in a similar way to those with diabetes, but it’s important to know that taking metformin when you have PCOS doesn’t mean you have type 2 diabetes. However, certain complications of the condition such as insulin resistance can put you at higher risk of developing it. Although it is currently unlicensed for the condition in the UK, metformin helps women with PCOS by encouraging ovulation and boosting fertility; something that is often difficult.

In PCOS, the drug has also been known to reduce excess hair and also improve the body’s response to insulin, as the condition can also make it difficult for the body to utilise the hormone in the right ways.

Some GPs may refer you to an endocrinologist or gynaecologist if they think that metformin may be an option for you, but it’s rarely used as a first-line treatment for the condition due to the fact it is used off-label.

Metformin uses

Metformin’s primary use is to help with controlling blood sugar levels in those that have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but it is also sometimes prescribed for other conditions.

There is some strong evidence to suggest that metformin can help to delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in people that are at risk of developing it, and doctors may prescribe it to patients that they think might benefit from it, but that aren’t yet classed as diabetic. Using metformin in a preventative way may help to stop the development of type-2 diabetes before other treatments are needed, such as insulin.

In addition to this, metformin is often prescribed to females that suffer with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), as it has been shown to help relieve some of the symptoms associated with the condition. Whilst not all women with PCOS need to take metformin, some are often prescribed it by their own doctor, as it shares some of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes such as insulin resistance, and is a risk factor for developing it if it is left untreated.

If you think metformin could help you, but you haven’t been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or PCOS, you should make an appointment with your own GP to discuss whether it would benefit you to add metformin to your treatments.

Metformin weight loss

Metformin may help some people to lose weight whilst taking it, but this isn’t guaranteed. It’s important to know that metformin isn’t a weight loss medication, and shouldn’t be taken for the sole purpose of losing weight. However, some patients that take metformin have found that their body weight has decreased – something which diabetes.co.uk attributes to the fact that metformin may help to lower appetite in some people that take it.

Many people that are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight, and weight loss has been proven to reduce some of the symptoms and complications associated with the condition, sometimes resulting in remission for some patients, but you shouldn’t rely on metformin to do this for you, as it may not work. However, if you follow a healthy diet and lifestyle whilst taking metformin, you’re more likely to lose weight than someone who eats a diet rich in sugars, fats and carbohydrates.

If you’re struggling to lose weight despite following a healthy lifestyle and taking metformin, it might be worth discussing weight loss treatments with your own GP, as options may be available that are suitable for you.

Metformin side effects

On the whole, metformin is a well-tolerated medication that has incredible benefits for patients that take it, but it’s important to remember that despite the fact that many people are able to take it without any problems, it is still a prescription medication that has the potential to cause side effects in some people.

The metformin side effects that are outlined in the patient information leaflet include:

Nausea
Vomiting
Diarrhoea
Abdominal pain
Loss of appetite
Change in taste
Lactic acidosis
low vitamin B12 levels
Abnormalities in liver function
Hepatitis
Skin reactions
Hives and itching

Luckily with metformin, most of the side effects that are experienced when you first start treatment tend to go away within a month of taking it, once your body has had chance to get used to the medication. Most of these temporary side effects are the ones that are gastrointestinal in nature, such as the nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. If you do experience these side effects when first starting treatment with metformin, most people find that they’re only mild and bearable until they eventually disappear.

Lactic acidosis is listed as a side effect of metformin, but it’s important to know that this only happens in very rare cases. However, if it does happen to you, it is a medical emergency and you should call 999 as soon as you suspect that you may be experiencing it. Symptoms of lactic acidosis to look out for include:

  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain with muscle cramps
  • Feeling generally unwell
  • Severe tiredness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Reduced body temperature
  • Reduced heart rate

Metformin slow release

Whilst most people find that the standard-release metformin is fine for them, other people do experience side effects for longer, or to an uncomfortable degree. Rather than stopping treatment, a slow-release version of metformin is available that often causes fewer side effects, allowing people to continue with their medication without having to be uncomfortable.

If you find that you struggle with standard-release metformin, and think that you might benefit from a slow-release version, you should speak to your GP about whether this would be suitable for you, and when you should take your new dosage, as slow release tablets don’t need to be taken three times a day.

Is metformin safe?

Metformin is an incredibly safe treatment, and often improves the overall outlook for type 2 diabetes if blood sugar is brought under control by the medication. However, there are some people that might not be able to take metformin due to pre-existing conditions, or if they take any medicines that might interact with it.

If you have any of the following medical conditions or problems, it’s generally recommended that you avoid metformin until you’ve spoken to your own GP about your situation and whether you may be able to add metformin into your treatment plan:

  • Allergic to metformin
  • Severe liver problems
  • Dehydrated
  • Severe infection
  • Reduced kidney function
  • Uncontrolled diabetes with hyperglycaemia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, rapid weight loss, lactic acidosis or ketoacidosis.
  • Acute heart failure
  • Recent heart attack
  • Severe problems with your circulation
  • Breathing difficulties
  • If you drink a lot of alcohol

In addition to this, there are some medicines which have been known to interact with metformin, and can be potentially dangerous, increasing your risk of side effects or complications. If you take any of the following treatments, you should avoid metformin until you’ve spoken to your GP about whether or not it is safe for you to take it:

Diuretics
Beta-2 agonists
Salbutamol
Terbutaline
Corticosteroids
Verapamil
Rifampicin
Cimetidine
Dolutegravir
Ranolazine
Trimethoprim
Vandetanib
Isavuconazole
Crizotinib
Olapraib
Other diabetes treatments*
NSAIDs
COX-2 inhibitors
ACE inhibitors
Angiotensin II receptor antagonists

*It’s important to know that metformin can be used alongside some diabetes treatments if they’ve been prescribed to you together by your doctor. However, combining metformin with any other treatment that may lower your blood glucose levels can increase your risk of experiencing hypoglycaemia, so you should always be aware of the symptoms and risks.

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you should be regularly checking your blood glucose levels anyway, but especially if you suspect that they may be too high or too low. If you find out that your blood sugar levels are too low, you should avoid driving, riding a bike or operating machinery until they’ve reached a stable and safe level.

Metformin in pregnancy

The NHS states that metformin should be safe to take during pregnancy - something which is echoed by diabetes.org.uk. Some expectant mothers take metformin on its own to manage their diabetes, whilst others may need insulin as well. However, if you are pregnant, you should make an appointment with your GP to discuss how to manage your treatment plan, both whilst carrying a baby, and if you choose to breastfeed.

Metformin dosage

The usual dose of metformin for adults is 500mg or 850mg taken twice or three times a day. Your dosage will depend on your blood glucose levels and what you doctor believes should be an adequate dose for you, so if you aren’t sure how much metformin you should be taking, you should make an appointment to see your own GP to make sure that you’re taking the right amount of medication.

The maximum dose of metformin is 3000mg daily, split into 3 doses, but most people that take it don’t need this much to manage their blood glucose levels.

If you take a slow-release version of metformin, your tablet may be a higher dose than 500mg or 850mg, but should only be taken once a day. Your own GP should tell you if this applies to you.

Metformin is usually taken with meals, as this can help to reduce the risk of experiencing side effects – particularly gastrointestinal side effects.

If you’re on the standard dose of metformin and find that your blood sugar levels are still elevated above a normal range, you should speak to your GP about the possibility of increasing your dose to better control your diabetes.

Can I buy metformin over the counter in the UK?

Unfortunately, metformin is not available over the counter in the UK. It is a prescription-only medication, meaning that you’ll need a doctor or specialist to prescribe it to you. However, once you’re stable on your dose and being regularly monitored by your GP or diabetic clinic team, you should be able to add metformin to your repeat prescription list, so you shouldn’t need to see a doctor each time you need to refill your prescription.

If you’re concerned about your blood glucose levels and think that metformin could benefit you, you should speak to your GP about it, as most treatments for diabetes are prescription-only and not available to buy in pharmacies.

Buy metformin UK

Although metformin requires a prescription, you may not necessarily need to make an appointment to see your own GP for it. You can now buy metformin online from Doctor4U after completing our consultation questionnaire. These questions are in place so that our GMC-registered doctors can review your answers to see whether metformin is a suitable treatment for you based on your condition, medical history, allergies and current treatments. If they believe that metformin is safe for you to take, they will issue a legal and valid UK prescription for the medication, which will be dispensed and shipped from our UK-based partner pharmacy.

We understand that it can sometimes be daunting to order medicines online, but if you look for the MHRA logo on the footer of our website, it will tell you that we’re licenced to sell medicines and healthcare products online within the UK. Click the logo to verify that we’re operating legally.

All medicines and products that you buy from Doctor4U are regulated according to UK standards by government bodies, meaning that the treatment you receive is of the same standard that you’d expect from your own GP.

Buy metformin

Buying metformin online is fast, safe and simple with Doctor4U. Simply answer the consultation questions for our doctors, and check out with your treatment. You can now buy metformin at a time and place that suits you, rather than needing to fit in an appointment around a busy lifestyle. We still recommend that you attend all diabetic monitoring appointments for the sake of your own health.

Dosage Instructions
A typical starting dose is one 500mg tablet, once per day for the first week, one 500mg tablet twice a day for the second week, and one 500mg tablet three times a day from then on.
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Metformin Dosage Quantity Cost Including Consultation
Metformin 500mg 56 Tablets £12.99
Metformin 500mg 112 Tablets £19.99
Metformin 850mg 56 Tablets £13.99

Delivery Charges

The following delivery methods are currently available within the UK: All orders are sent in discreet, plain packaging.

UK Standard Delivery, £1.99

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered using Royal Mail Tracked 48 Service

standard UK delivery within 3-5 working days

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UK Express Delivery, £2.99

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered using the Express delivery service* (deliveries are made Monday - Saturday)

If you order after 12pm, your order will be dispatched the next working day and will be with you within 48 hours once dispatched. This excludes weekends and bank holidays

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Royal Mail Special Delivery Next Day Anytime, £4.99 (This service includes Saturday)

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered using Royal Mail Special Delivery Service, which includes Saturday deliveries.

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Order before 12pm to have your order delivered before 1pm next day using Royal Mail Special Delivery service, this also includes Saturday deliveries.

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Royal Mail Special Delivery Next Day Before 9am, £14.99 (This service includes Saturday)

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered before 9am next day using Royal Mail Special Delivery service, this also includes Saturday deliveries.

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DPD Next Day Delivery, £4.99 (Monday - Friday only. This service does not include Saturday)

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered the following working day

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

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DPD Next Day Delivery, by 12 Noon, £9.99 (Monday - Friday only. This service does not include Saturday)

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 12 noon the following working day

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

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DPD Next Day Delivery, by 10:30am, £14.99  (Monday - Friday only. This service does not include Saturday)

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 10:30am the following working day

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

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DPD Saturday Delivery, £14.99

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered the following Saturday

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

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DPD Saturday Delivery, by 12:00am, £21.99

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 12:00am Saturday

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

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DPD Saturday Delivery, by 10:30am, £29.99

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 10:30am Saturday

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

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Unfortunately, we can't process orders from outside the UK at this time.


Terms and Conditions

Delivery options exclude Bank Holidays, public holidays and Sundays.All deliveries are subject to Doctor-4-u successfully receiving payment and prescription being approved by the doctor.

All purchases require additional approval, which will involve completion of an online questionnaire and any subsequent approval.

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