When Is The Best Time To Take Metformin?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the recommended time to take metformin products.

Question

Can you tell me the best time to take metformin?

Asked by Kathy On Apr 27, 2019

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Apr 29, 2019
Pill Bottle With Text - Best Time To Take Metformin

Overview

When to take metformin depends on which product you are taking as there are several different ones. They are:

  • Immediate-release tablets
  • Extended-release tablets (which includes Glucophage XR, Glumetza and Fortamet)
  • Solution

In the next sections, I discuss when it is recommended to take metformin based on which product you are taking.


Immediate-Release

Immediate-release metformin tablets should be taken with meals.

Per the prescribing information for metformin:[1]

GLUCOPHAGE [immediate-release metformin] should be given in divided doses with meals.
Glucophage Prescribing Information

Extended-Release

There are three different extended-release metformin products:

  • Glucophage XR
  • Glumetza
  • Fortamet

All 3 products utilize different mechanisms that release metformin slowly over time, but they are all recommended to be taken the same way, once-daily with the evening meal.

From the prescribing information for Glumetza:[2]

GLUMETZA therapy should generally be initiated with 1000 mg daily which should be taken with food preferably in the evening.
Glumetza Prescribing Information

Similarly, from the prescribing information for Fortamet:[3]

FORTAMET® should be taken with a full glass of water once daily with the evening meal.
Fortamet Prescribing Information

Lastly, from the prescribing information for Glucophage XR:[4]

GLUCOPHAGE XR should generally be given once daily with the evening meal.
Glucophage XR Prescribing Information

Solution

In addition to the solid dosage forms for metformin, it is also available as a solution (Riomet). Each dose should be given with meals:[5]

RIOMET should be given in divided doses with meals.
Riomet Prescribing Information

Final Words

The dosing recommendations for metformin is pretty clear cut, take with food.

If you are taking more than one dose per day (which is typical with the immediate-release tablets and solution), try to separate them evenly. For example, if you take metformin twice a day, breakfast and dinner would be the best options.


Summary

Metformin should always be taken with food. Immediate-release products should be taken in divided doses with meals while extended-release products should be taken with the evening meal.

Video Summary


References
  1. ^ Glucophage Prescribing Information. AccessFDA
  2. ^ Glumetza Prescribing Information. AccessFDA
  3. ^ Fortamet Prescribing Information. AccessFDA
  4. ^ Glucophage XR Prescribing Information. BMS
  5. ^ Riomet Prescribing Information. AccessFDA

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

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