Information about taking metformin: Inside the pouch

Let’s delve inside the pouch to find out the facts about this popular Diabetes and PCOS medication.

Metformin is taken by thousands of people in the UK. It’s primary use is treating Diabetes, or preventing Diabetes for those in a high-risk group. Though not officially approved for PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), it’s often used in treating this condition.

How does metformin work?

Metformin is a useful medication for Diabetes because it helps regulate blood-sugar levels. It does this by reducing the amount of sugar your liver releases into your blood. It also makes your body respond better to insulin, which controls the level of sugar in your blood.

Can everybody take metformin?

Metformin is suitable for adults, and children aged over 10.

Metformin may not be suitable for you if you:

  • previously have had an allergic reaction to metformin or other medicines in the past
  • have uncontrolled diabetes
  • suffer with liver or kidney problems
  • have a severe infection
  • are being treated for heart failure or have recently had a heart attack
  • have severe problems with your circulation or breathing difficulties
  • drink a lot of alcohol

Let your doctor know about any of these issues before you start taking metformin. You should also tell your doctor if you are due to have surgery under general anaesthetic, or a scan than relies on injecting iodine into your blood.

Which pouch will my metformin be in?

This depends on which type of metformin you take. Metformin comes as 2 different types of tablet: standard-release and slow-release.

Standard-release tablets release metformin into your body quickly. So, you may have several daily doses. We will follow your doctor’s prescription instructions when organising metformin into your PillTime pouches. Each pouch is labelled with full details of your dose, so you’ll know exactly when to take your metformin.

Slow-release tablets dissolve slowly. This means that you do not have to take them as often. You will normally have one dose a day, in your evening pouch.


What dosage will I have?

The maximum daily dosage is 2000mg a day, which may be split into several doses.

How do I take metformin?

You should take metformin with a meal, to limit any possible side-effects. Take your metformin with a glass of water and swallow tablets whole, without chewing them.

Metformin is available in liquid form for children, or those with difficulty swallowing tablets.

Can I take metformin if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Metformin should be safe to take when pregnant. You can also take metformin whilst breastfeeding. Small amounts will pass into your milk, but not enough to affect your baby.

That said, you should always let your doctor know if you are trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding. They will be able to advise you on your medication during this period.

Should I expect any side effects?

There are some common side effects of taking metformin. These affect more than 1 in 100 people:

  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • being sick (vomiting) or diarrhoea
  • stomach ache
  • loss of appetite
  • a metallic taste in the mouth

These should go away in one week. If they continue or they bother you, consult your pharmacist or GP.

Serious side effects are rare and happen in less than 1 in 10,000 people.

  • a general feeling of discomfort with severe tiredness, fast or shallow breathing, being cold and a slow heartbeat
    yellow skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow – these can be signs of liver problems
  • extreme tiredness, lack of energy, pins and needles, a sore and red tongue, mouth ulcers, muscle weakness and disturbed vision – these could be signs of vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia
  • a skin rash, redness or itching – this could be a sign of a skin disorder

If you get any warning signs of any of these symptoms, you should call your doctor straight away.

Taking metformin with PillTime

PillTime is an ideal service for those with Diabetes. If you take several medications and would like a simpler way of managing your repeat medication, visit the PillTime homepage. PillTime organises all your medication into clearly labelled, dose specific pouches. We deliver your organised medication to your door, for free. Find out more.