Glumetza is an extended-release formulation of metformin hydrochloride, developed to assist in managing blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Glumetza is a member of the biguanide family of drugs, a class of antidiabetic drugs that work to regulate blood glucose levels by decreasing the liver’s glucose production. Glumetza also works to reduce the impact of dietary glucose by limiting the amount of glucose absorbed by the small intestine while digesting a meal. Finally, Glumetza also optimizes the body’s use of g

Glumetza’s delayed-release formulation was developed to allow the drug to break down slowly releasing the active ingredient over an extended period of time. This slower release extends the duration of effective action and minimizes the common gastrointestinal side effects associated with standard metformin.

Precautions & Warnings of Glumetza

Glumetza is generally safe for use by most adults with type 2 diabetes. However, some patients may be at a higher risk of developing a rare, but serious condition called lactic acidosis, when taking Glumetza or other metformin-based drugs. Common side effects, and warning signs of more serious illness are discussed in detail in the section below. As usual, it is possible to experience an allergic reaction to any drug, including Glumetza. If you experience any abnormal symptoms while taking Glumetza, contact your healthcare provider immediately for guidance.

Glumetza Side Effects

Glumetza was specifically designed to eliminate many of the common side effects associated with the active ingredient metformin hydrochloride. Still, patients who are particularly sensitive may still experience some mild symptoms.

Common Side Effects

Glumetza’s delayed-release formulation should reduce the likelihood of experiencing these side-effects for most patients. If you do experience these common symptoms, your doctor may recommend dietary adjustments, and more intensive monitoring of your blood glucose levels until your body has adjusted to the drug and your blood glucose levels have stabilized.

  • Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar levels result in dizziness, confusion, weakness, or fainting
  • Gastrointestinal Upset: Diarrhea, nausea, and indigestion
  • Allergic reaction: Itchy rash or hives, a tingling sensation in the mouth or throat, swelling anywhere on the body, difficulty breathing
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Gassiness

Serious Side Effects

Serious side effects are rare but significant. Metformin hydrochloride, the active ingredient in Glumetza has been associated with the development of lactic acidosis is a serious condition and can cause severe injury or death if not treated immediately.

Lactic acidosis can develop quickly and requires immediate medical attention. If you experience any of the following symptoms after taking Glumetza, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

  • Quick, shallow breathing
  • Bradyarrhythmias (Slow, irregular heart rate)
  • Lethargy and sleepiness
  • Persistent stomach ache (some GI irritation is normal but it should resolve within a couple of hours)
  • Feeling cold
  • Seizure
Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis has been reported in rare cases as well. Be on the lookout for these symptoms of pancreatitis:

  • Abdominal pain on the upper left side
  • Back pain
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  • Swollen abdomen

Contraindications

The risk of developing serious side effects, such as lactic acidosis are greater in older patients over the age of 65, and patients with certain pre-existing health conditions.

It’s crucial to disclose your complete medical history to your healthcare provider to avoid potential adverse effects.

Tell your doctor if you have any of the following health concerns or risk factors:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Cardiovascular disease, heart failure, or a heart attack
  • Blood circulation problems
  • Anemia
  • Metabolic acidosis, keto acidosis, or lactic acidosis
  • Adrenal gland or pituitary gland disorder
  • Regular alcohol use

Interactions With Glumetza

Be sure to inform your doctor if you think you might fit into any of these scenarios. You will want to tell your doctor about any medications, supplements, and vitamins that you are taking. You will also want to give your doctor and honest picture of how much alcohol you generally consume

Many factors have a significant impact on blood glucose levels from the foods that we eat, to the beverages we drink, our activity and stress levels. Making changes to our normal diet, or medication regime can also lead to significant changes in blood glucose levels.

When you are starting out on Glumetza your doctor will likely want to monitor blood glucose levels very closely to see how Glumetza in addition to dietary and lifestyle changes are impacting your blood glucose. You can do your part to stay safe by taking note of any new symptoms and discussing them with your doctor right away

Alcohol

Alcohol consumption has a significant impact on blood glucose levels. Drinking even small amounts of alcohol on an empty stomach can cause low blood sugar in patients whose diabetes is not adequately controlled. Patients who regularly consume alcohol may have high blood glucose. Unregulated diabetes combined with regular alcohol use can lead to a condition known as hepatic gluconeogenesis, that occurs when alcohol inhibits the liver’s ability to regulate blood glucose, resulting in a dip in blood glucose. Glumetza, combined with alcohol can increase the severity of this impact. The combination also increases the risk of developing lactic acidosis.

Iodine Contrast

Glumetza may interact with the iodine dye used during contrast imaging procedures like CT scans, or X-rays resulting in kidney damage.

Drug Interactions

Glumetza can exaggerate the effect of drugs that increase or decrease blood sugar leading to either hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia depending on the combination of drugs.

Drugs That Can Increase Blood Glucose

Common drugs can increase blood glucose:

Drugs That Can Decrease Blood Glucose

Common drugs can decrease blood glucose:

  • Alcohol
  • NSAIDs (Ibuprofen, Aleve, etc. )
  • Aspirin
  • Beta Blockers & MAOI
  • Sulfa drugs

Glumetza Strengths and Dosages

Glumetza is available in both 500 mg and 1000 mg extended-release tablets. Most patients will be prescribed a low starting dose of Glumetza taken once daily at mealtime. Your doctor or healthcare professional will then increase your dose every 1 – 2 weeks until the desired effect is achieved.

See the chart below for the most common dosing guidelines. Dosage adjustments should only be made under the direct orders of a qualified physician.

Treatment StageStrengthDose
Loading Dose500 mg1 extended-release oral tablet once daily at mealtime
Maintenance Dose500mg or 1000 mg1- 2 extended-release oral tablet(s) once daily at mealtime (up to 2000 mg per day)

 

Additional Administration Guidelines

  • Do not crush or chew Glumetza tablets as this will negate the effectiveness of the delayed release coating.
  • Glumetza should be taken with a meal, preferably one that is relatively high in fat. Food intake helps to prevent GI irritation, while a high fat content aids in the absorption of the medication Take Delzicol on a consistent schedule for optimal results
  • Always follow the dosing and administration guidelines provided by your physician as the dose will likely change during the early stage of treatment. Your doctor will gradually increase the dose until your blood glucose is stabilized.

Glumetza Affordability Considerations

Glumetza saw a massive spike in price in 2015, and the price has remained high to date. Health insurance or a pharmacy discount program may help mitigate the excess cost. You may also be able to talk to your doctor about the possibility of prescribing a lower cost alternative.

Average Cost of Glumetza in the US

At the time of this writing the latest pricing data for Glumetza reflects an average cost of $54.30 per 500 mg extended-release tablet, or $5, 430.34 for a bottle of 100 extended-release oral tablets.

Glumetza 1000 mg extended-release oral tablets are currently priced at $117.34 per tablet or $10,560.24 for a bottle of 100 extended-release oral tablets.

Why is Glumetza so Expensive?

Glumetza is one of the many drugs at the heart of the pharmaceutical pricing debate in the United States. The Glumetza manufacturing and distribution rights were acquired by Bausch Health Companies Inc. (formerly Valeant Pharmaceuticals International) in 2015. Bausch was one of a handful of companies with an aggressive business model that aimed to maximize profits through strategic acquisitions, dramatic price increases, and alleged price collusion with several other pharmaceutical acquisition firms.

Glumetza was priced at around $5 per tablet when purchased by Bausch Health Companies in 2015, within one year the price was increased by 800% to $52  per pill. Bausch Health was found guilty of engaging in secret anti-competitive pricing  schemes and ordered to pay a $300 million dollar settlement to the plaintiff in 2021. However, the price is far higher today, and much of the judgment was passed on to the consumer.

Glumetza Alternatives

Fortunately, there are several alternative metformin hydrochloride variants available. Talk with your doctor about any pricing concerns as they may be able to prescribe one of the alternative metformin products with a lower price tag.

Brand Name Alternatives

Branded variations include:

Generic Alternatives

Generic versions include:

  • metformin HCl
  • metformin HCl ER
  • metformin HCl ER (MOD)
  • metformin HCl ER (OSM)

Frequently Asked Questions About Glumetza

Here are some of the most common questions others frequently ask regarding the safe and effective use of Glumetza.

What Is Glumetza Medicine For?

Glumetza is an extended release metformin hydrochloride medication used to help Type 2 Diabetes patients establish and maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

What Are The Side Effects Of Glumetza?

Some patients may have symptoms of hypoglycemia (dizziness, feeling lightheaded, etc…). Patients may also experience GI upset like diarrhea, gassiness, and nausea. While not common,  some patients develop a serious condition known as lactic acidosis after taking Glumetza. Your doctor will want to know all of the details of your medical history, lifestyle, diet, alcohol consumption, and any medications or supplements you may be taking before determining if Glumetza is the right choice for you.

What is the Difference Between Glumetza and Metformin?

Glumetza added a specialty coating to each tablet that offers a more targeted and effective delayed release with fewer of the gastrointestinal irritation symptoms commonly reported by users of generic metformin.

Why Is Glumetza Better Than Metformin?

Glumetza’s delayed release tablets have been shown to reach a peak plasma concentration that is 35% higher than that achieved with generic immediate release metformin tablets. Additionally, the delayed-release helps to alleviate some of the unpleasant side-effects like hypoglycemia, and GI upset associated with generic variants.

What is the difference between Glumetza and other metformin products?

Glumetza out performs immediate release metformin products when it comes to side effect minimization and patient tolerability.  There are 2 other metformin extended release options with each using a slightly different method for delaying the release of the drug. There are no clear studies showing that one extended release product outperforms the others, but certain patients may tolerate one type over another.

Can Glumetza be used in combination with other diabetes medications?

Glumetza is often used along with comprehensive changes to diet, lifestyle, and medication/supplement regimes. On occasion, Gliemetza may be combined with other medications to achieve a specific goal.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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