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Diabetes Medications and New Drugs

Glucophage SR

What is Glucophage SR?

Glucophage SR is a slow or sustained release preparation of Metformin, a blood sugar lowering agent which has been used in the management of diabetes for several decades. Metformin is extremely effective and is therefore considered the ‘first-line’ drug in the management of type 2 diabetes.

Is it more effective than ‘standard’ Metformin?

No. The efficacy of Glucophage SR is comparable to standard Metformin taken in similar dose.

How does it differ from standard Metformin?

  • Once daily dosing. Standard Metformin is taken up to 3 times a day.
  • Fewer gastrointestinal side effects reported than with standard Metformin.
  • The maximum recommended dose is 2gm (compared with Metformin which is 3gm)

What is the dose?

Your doctor will advise you on a suitable dose. Treatment is usually commenced with one 500 mg tablet taken once daily, usually with the evening meal. The dose is increased in steps of 500 mg every two weeks up to a maximum of 2000 mg daily. If converting from ‘standard’ Metformin, you may change to an equivalent dose upto this maximum dose.

What are the potential benefits of this preparation?

As Glucophage SR is taken only once-a-day it is thought that it will help improve compliance. That is to say patients are less likely to miss a once-daily dose as opposed to a three times-a-day dosing regime. It may also cause less in the way of gastrointestinal upset. Patients may also find the tablets easier to swallow.

Who should be considered for treatment with Glucophage SR?

People who are Metformin intolerant due to GI side-effects.

Are there any disadvantages?

The only disadvantage of this preparation is the cost, as generic Metformin is cheaper to dispense on the NHS. Given the high cost of prescribing in diabetes, the price of drugs is a major consideration due to health economic reasons. If all else is equal you will find the cheaper drug is prescribed on the NHS. The annual cost of Glucophage SR 2000 mg is approximately 140 in contrast with less than 30 for generic Metformin.

Should I consider changing?

If you are taking Metformin without any problems there is no reason to consider a change.

For more information about Metformin…

Please see: Metformin (on this website)

 

Dr Nishan Wijenaike MD FRCP
Consultant Diabetologist
West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust
Bury St Edmunds
October 2006

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Glucose Lowering drugs

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Drugs for Type 2 diabetes