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Learn more about how Metformin can treat Type 2 Diabetes and what the side effects are of taking Metformin.

Geoffrey Rutledge, MD, PhD, FACMI
Cofounder and Chief Medical Officer, HealthTap

What is metformin prescribed for?

Metformin is a medication that can be prescribed alone or with additional medications to help manage type 2 diabetes.

Partner with a HealthTap doctor to see if metformin is right for you. Get started today and schedule an appointment with the primary care doctor of your choice.

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How to get metformin online

Metformin is not available over-the-counter. You must see a doctor to get a metformin prescription, and the good news is we can help! Your HealthTap primary care doctor can do a video visit and if necessary, order tests and prescribe you metformin online - all without you having to leave the comfort of your home.*
  1. Subscribe to HealthTap and save on virtual visits and prescriptions.
  2. Start a video visit with a HealthTap doctor licensed in your state.
  3. Discuss your medical symptoms with your HealthTap doctor.
  4. If your doctor prescribes metformin for you, we will send your prescription to the local pharmacy of your choice.
  5. HealthTap shows the best prices in your area, saving our members an average of 69% on prescription medications.
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*If lab tests are ordered, you can make an in-person visit to one of our partner labs to do the tests.

Type 2 diabetes medications prescribed online

Prescriptions such as metformin are not available without first seeing a doctor. There are no over-the-counter diabetes medications available. HealthTap doctors are online to help you diagnose, treat, and manage your type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes medications may include:


How does metformin work?

Metformin works by decreasing the amount of sugar the liver makes, as well decreasing the amount of sugar the stomach and intestines absorb. It lowers blood sugar also by increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin, which can mean less insulin is needed to handle the body's blood sugar. Metformin works to help those with type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, it does not work for people with type 1 diabetes as they are not able to produce their own insulin in their pancreas.

If you have questions about metformin, our HealthTap primary care doctors can help. Schedule an appointment today.

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Frequently asked questions about metformin

Can you buy metformin over-the-counter?

No. Metformin must be prescribed by a doctor. Your doctor can decide if metformin is the right prescription for you based on your health history, current condition, allergies, etc.

Is metformin HCL the same as metformin?

Yes. Metformin HCL stands for metformin hydrochloride, a name usually shortened to metformin.

How do you take metformin?

Metformin is taken by the mouth; its frequency is as directed by your physician. Metformin is usually taken 1-3 times a day with food, depending on the type of metformin medication and your doctor's instructions. It should be taken at about the same time every day, and be accompanied with food and fluids unless directed otherwise by your doctor.

What are some common brand names of metformin?

  • Fortamet
  • Glucophage
  • Glumetza
  • Riomet
Note: if you are already taking metformin, ask your pharmacist if the pills you received are among the batches that got recalled, or check this list of manufacturers to see if you should return your pills and refill your prescription.

What are some brand name combination prescriptions that contain metformin?

  • Actoplus Met - metformin, pioglitazone
  • Avandamet - metformin, rosiglitazone
  • Glucovance (discontinued) - glyburide, metformin (discontinued)
  • Invokamet - canagliflozin, metformin
  • Janumet - metformin, sitagliptin
  • Jentadueto - linagliptin, metformin
  • Kazano - alogliptin, metformin
  • Kombiglyze XR - metformin, saxagliptin
  • Metaglip (discontinued) - glipizide, metformin
  • Prandimet - metformin, repaglinide
  • Qternmet XR - dapagliflozin, metformin, saxagliptin
  • Segluromet - ertugliflozin, metformin
  • Synjardy - empagliflozin, metformin
  • Trijardy XR - empagliflozin, linagliptin, metformin
  • Xigduo XR - dapagliflozin, metformin

What are the possible side effects of metformin?

In most cases metformin side effects tend to be mild. A person may experience the side effects such as:
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Metallic taste in your mouth
  • Gas, bloating, flatulence
  • Heartburn
  • Headache
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Nail changes
  • Muscle pain
  • Low blood sugar
  • Lactic acidosis

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What to expect with your visit:

What's included:

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  • Lab tests and specialist referrals
  • Doctor's notes
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Not included:

  • Opioid and controlled substance prescriptions
  • Psychiatric and lifestyle medication prescriptions
  • Life-threatening situations or medical emergencies

Reviewed by:

Geoffrey Rutledge, MD, PhD, FACMI

Cofounder and Chief Medical Officer, HealthTap

Dr. Rutledge is a double-board certified physician who practiced and taught medicine for more than 25 years. He attended medical school at McGill University in Montreal, then completed residency training in Internal Medicine at UCSD, and was certified by the boards of Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine. He earned a PhD in medical computer science from Stanford, was an NIH-funded researcher, and served on clinical and teaching faculty at Harvard, Stanford, and UCSD medical schools. Before co-founding HealthTap, he created the first consumer health website and PHR at Healtheon/WebMD, was SVP of clinical transformation at First Consulting Group, CMIO at San Mateo Medical Center, and EVP, Product Development and Chief Medical Officer at Epocrates.