What should seniors know before using Glucophage?

Before seniors take the diabetes drug Glucophage (metformin), they should know people with reduced kidney function (a condition associated with aging) may need to take a lower dose than other people do and have their kidneys monitored more closely. Glucophage is not recommended for people age 80 or older who have not had a kidney function test.

People with reduced kidney function are at increased risk of developing a serious side effect from Glucophage, called lactic acidosis. Call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following signs:
  • feeling weak, tired or uncomfortable
  • unusual muscle pain
  • problems breathing
  • increased sleepiness
  • unexplained stomach discomfort
  • feeling cold, dizzy or light-headed
  • sudden onset of a slow or irregular heartbeat
Glucophage can also cause other side effects, including diarrhea, nausea, upset stomach or a metallic taste in the mouth. If you drink alcohol, do not eat enough or take certain medications while taking Glucophage, you may also experience hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can be dangerous.

Be sure to talk with your doctor about all the medications (prescription and nonprescription), supplements and herbal remedies you take. Also tell your doctor about any other medical conditions you have or have had, especially liver or heart disease.

Continue Learning about Metformin

Metformin: Could This Common Drug Prolong Your Life?
Metformin: Could This Common Drug Prolong Your Life?
Metformin, a common prescription drug that’s used to treat type 2 diabetes, is making headlines worldwide—but the big news has nothing to do with diab...
Read More
What happens if I miss a dose of metformin?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
If you miss a dose of metformin, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next...
More Answers
Is my father at risk of lactic acidosis from taking metformin?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
Anyone who takes the diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage, Fortamet) can be at risk of developing...
More Answers
Are there any risks in taking metformin?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
Metformin can cause a rare but sometimes fatal condition called lactic acidosis. This is more co...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.