PRECAUTIONS General Lactic acidosis—There have been postmarketing cases of metformin-associated lactic acidosis, including fatal cases. These cases had a subtle onset and were accompanied by nonspecific symptoms such as malaise, myalgias, abdominal pain, respiratory distress, or increased somnolence; however, hypotension and resistant bradyarrhythmias have occurred with severe acidosis. Metformin-associated lactic acidosis was characterized by elevated blood lactate concentrations (>5 mmol/L), anion gap acidosis (without evidence of ketonuria or ketonemia), and an increased lactate:pyruvate ratio; metformin plasma levels were generally >5 mcg/mL. Metformin decreases liver uptake of lactate increasing lactate blood levels which may increase the risk of lactic acidosis, especially in patients at risk. If metformin-associated lactic acidosis is suspected, general supportive measures should be instituted promptly in a hospital setting, along with immediate discontinuation of GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR. In GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR treated patients with a diagnosis or strong suspicion of lactic acidosis, prompt hemodialysis is recommended to correct the acidosis and remove accumulated metformin (metformin hydrochloride is dialyzable with a clearance of up to 170 mL/min under good hemodynamic conditions). Hemodialysis has often resulted in reversal of symptoms and recovery. Educate patients and their families about the symptoms of lactic acidosis and, if these symptoms occur, instruct them to discontinue GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR and report these symptoms to their healthcare provider. For each of the known and possible risk factors for metformin-associated lactic acidosis, recommendations to reduce the risk of and manage metformin-associated lactic acidosis are provided below: Renal impairment—The postmarketing metformin-associated lactic acidosis cases primarily occurred in patients with significant renal impairment. The risk of metformin accumulation and metformin-associated lactic acidosis increases with the severity of renal impairment because metformin is substantially excreted by the kidney. Clinical recommendations based upon the patient’s renal function include (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY): • Before initiating GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR, obtain an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) • GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR is contraindicated in patients with an eGFR less than 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 (see CONTRAINDICATIONS). • Initiation of GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR is not recommended in patients with eGFR between 30-45 mL/min/1.73 m2. • Obtain an eGFR at least annually in all patients taking GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR.In patients at risk for the development of renal impairment (e.g., the elderly); renal function should be assessed more frequently. • In patients taking GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR whose eGFR falls below 45 mL/min/1.73 m2, assess the benefit and risk of continuing therapy. Drug interactions—The concomitant use of GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR with specific drugs may increase the risk of metformin-associated lactic acidosis: those that impair renal function, result in significant hemodynamic change, interfere with acid-base balance, or increase metformin accumulation. Consider more frequent monitoring of patients. Age 65 or greater—The risk of metformin-associated lactic acidosis increases with the patient’s age because elderly patients have a greater likelihood of having hepatic, renal, or cardiac impairment than younger patients. Assess renal function more frequently in elderly patients. Radiologic studies with contrast—Administration of intravascular iodinated contrast agents in metformin-treated patients has led to an acute decrease in renal function and the occurrence of lactic acidosis. Stop GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR at the time of, or prior to, an iodinated contrast imaging procedure in patients with an eGFR between 30 and 60 mL/min/1.73 m2; in patients with a history of hepatic impairment, alcoholism or heart failure; or in patients who will be administered intra-arterial iodinated contrast. Re-evaluate eGFR 48 hours after the imaging procedure, and restart GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR if renal function is stable. Surgery and other procedures—Withholding of food and fluids during surgical or other procedures may increase the risk for volume depletion, hypotension, and renal impairment. GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR should be temporarily discontinued while patients have restricted food and fluid intake. Hypoxic states—Several of the postmarketing cases of metformin-associated lactic acidosis occurred in the setting of acute congestive heart failure (particularly when accompanied by hypoperfusion and hypoxemia). Cardiovascular collapse (shock), acute myocardial infarction, sepsis, and other conditions associated with hypoxemia have been associated with lactic acidosis and may cause prerenal azotemia. When such an event occurs, discontinue GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR. Excessive alcohol intake—Alcohol is known to potentiate the effect of metformin on lactate metabolism. Patients, therefore, should be warned against excessive alcohol intake, acute or chronic, while receiving GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR. Hepatic impairment—Patients with hepatic impairment have developed cases of metformin-associated lactic acidosis. This may be due to impaired lactate clearance resulting in higher lactate blood levels. Therefore, avoid use of GLUCOPHAGE and GLUCOPHAGE XR in patients with clinical or laboratory evidence of hepatic disease. Vitamin B12 levels—In controlled clinical trials of GLUCOPHAGE of 29 weeks duration, a decrease to subnormal levels of previously normal serum vitamin B12 levels, without clinical manifestations, was observed in approximately 7% of patients. Such decrease, possibly due to interference with B12 absorption from the B12-intrinsic factor complex, is, however, very rarely associated with anemia and appears to be rapidly reversible with discontinuation of GLUCOPHAGE or vitamin B12 supplementation. Measurement of hematologic parameters on an annual basis is advised in patients on GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR and any apparent abnormalities should be appropriately investigated and managed (see PRECAUTIONS: Laboratory Tests). Certain individuals (those with inadequate vitamin B12 or calcium intake or absorption) appear to be predisposed to developing subnormal vitamin B12 levels. In these patients, routine serum vitamin B12 measurements at 2- to 3-year intervals may be useful. Hypoglycemia—Hypoglycemia does not occur in patients receiving GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR alone under usual circumstances of use, but could occur when caloric intake is deficient, when strenuous exercise is not compensated by caloric supplementation, or during concomitant use with other glucose-lowering agents (such as sulfonylureas and insulin) or ethanol. Elderly, debilitated, or malnourished patients, and those with adrenal or pituitary insufficiency or alcohol intoxication are particularly susceptible to hypoglycemic effects. Hypoglycemia may be difficult to recognize in the elderly, and in people who are taking beta-adrenergic blocking drugs. Macrovascular outcomes—There have been no clinical studies establishing conclusive evidence of macrovascular risk reduction with GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR or any other antidiabetic drug. Information for Patients Patients should be informed of the potential risks and benefits of GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR and of alternative modes of therapy. They should also be informed about the importance of adherence to dietary instructions, of a regular exercise program, and of regular testing of blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, renal function, and hematologic parameters. The risks of lactic acidosis, its symptoms, and conditions that predispose to its development, as noted in the WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS sections, should be explained to patients. Patients should be advised to discontinue GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR immediately and to promptly notify their health practitioner if unexplained hyperventilation, myalgia, malaise, unusual somnolence, or other nonspecific symptoms occur. Once a patient is stabilized on any dose level of GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR, gastrointestinal symptoms, which are common during initiation of metformin therapy, are unlikely to be drug related. Later occurrence of gastrointestinal symptoms could be due to lactic acidosis or other serious disease. Patients should be counseled against excessive alcohol intake, either acute or chronic, while receiving GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR. GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR alone does not usually cause hypoglycemia, although it may occur when GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR is used in conjunction with oral sulfonylureas and insulin. When initiating combination therapy, the risks of hypoglycemia, its symptoms and treatment, and conditions that predispose to its development should be explained to patients and responsible family members. (See Patient Information printed below.) Patients should be informed that GLUCOPHAGE XR must be swallowed whole and not crushed or chewed, and that the inactive ingredients may occasionally be eliminated in the feces as a soft mass that may resemble the original tablet. Laboratory Tests Response to all diabetic therapies should be monitored by periodic measurements of fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin levels, with a goal of decreasing these levels toward the normal range. During initial dose titration, fasting glucose can be used to determine the therapeutic response. Thereafter, both glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin should be monitored. Measurements of glycosylated hemoglobin may be especially useful for evaluating long-term control (see also DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). Initial and periodic monitoring of hematologic parameters (e.g., hemoglobin/hematocrit and red blood cell indices) and renal function (serum creatinine) should be performed, at least on an annual basis. While megaloblastic anemia has rarely been seen with GLUCOPHAGE therapy, if this is suspected, vitamin B 12 deficiency should be excluded. Instruct patients to inform their doctor that they are taking GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR prior to any surgical or radiological procedure, as temporary discontinuation of GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR may be required until renal function has been confirmed to be normal (see PRECAUTIONS). Drug Interactions (Clinical Evaluation of Drug Interactions Conducted with GLUCOPHAGE) Glyburide—In a single-dose interaction study in type 2 diabetes patients, coadministration of metformin and glyburide did not result in any changes in either metformin pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics. Decreases in glyburide AUC and C max were observed, but were highly variable. The single-dose nature of this study and the lack of correlation between glyburide blood levels and pharmacodynamic effects, makes the clinical significance of this interaction uncertain (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION: Concomitant GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR and Oral Sulfonylurea Therapy in Adult Patients ). Furosemide—A single-dose, metformin-furosemide drug interaction study in healthy subjects demonstrated that pharmacokinetic parameters of both compounds were affected by coadministration. Furosemide increased the metformin plasma and blood C max by 22% and blood AUC by 15%, without any significant change in metformin renal clearance. When administered with metformin, the C max and AUC of furosemide were 31% and 12% smaller, respectively, than when administered alone, and the terminal half-life was decreased by 32%, without any significant change in furosemide renal clearance. No information is available about the interaction of metformin and furosemide when coadministered chronically. Nifedipine—A single-dose, metformin-nifedipine drug interaction study in normal healthy volunteers demonstrated that coadministration of nifedipine increased plasma metformin C max and AUC by 20% and 9%, respectively, and increased the amount excreted in the urine. T max and half-life were unaffected. Nifedipine appears to enhance the absorption of metformin. Metformin had minimal effects on nifedipine. Drugs that reduce metformin clearance— Concomitant use of drugs that interfere with common renal tubular transport systems involved in the renal elimination of metformin (e.g., organic cationic transporter-2 [OCT2] / multidrug and toxin extrusion [MATE] inhibitors such as ranolazine, vandetanib, dolutegravir, and cimetidine) could increase systemic exposure to metformin and may increase the risk for lactic acidosis. Consider the benefits and risks of concomitant use. Such interaction between metformin and oral cimetidine has been observed in normal healthy volunteers in both single- and multiple-dose, metformin-cimetidine drug interaction studies, with a 60% increase in peak metformin plasma and whole blood concentrations and a 40% increase in plasma and whole blood metformin AUC. There was no change in elimination half-life in the single-dose study. Metformin had no effect on cimetidine pharmacokinetics. In healthy volunteers, the pharmacokinetics of metformin and propranolol, and metformin and ibuprofen were not affected when coadministered in single-dose interaction studies. Metformin is negligibly bound to plasma proteins and is, therefore, less likely to interact with highly protein-bound drugs such as salicylates, sulfonamides, chloramphenicol, and probenecid, as compared to the sulfonylureas, which are extensively bound to serum proteins. Other—Certain drugs tend to produce hyperglycemia and may lead to loss of glycemic control. These drugs include the thiazides and other diuretics, corticosteroids, phenothiazines, thyroid products, estrogens, oral contraceptives, phenytoin, nicotinic acid, sympathomimetics, calcium channel blocking drugs, and isoniazid. When such drugs are administered to a patient receiving GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR, the patient should be closely observed for loss of blood glucose control. When such drugs are withdrawn from a patient receiving GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR, the patient should be observed closely for hypoglycemia. Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors—Topiramate or other carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (e.g., zonisamide, acetazolamide or dichlorphenamide) frequently cause a decrease in serum bicarbonate and induce non-anion gap, hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis. Concomitant use of these drugs with GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR may increase the risk for lactic acidosis. Consider more frequent monitoring of these patients. Alcohol—Alcohol is known to potentiate the effect of metformin on lactate metabolism. Warn patients against excessive alcohol intake while receiving GLUCOPHAGE OR GLUCOPHAGE XR. Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility Long-term carcinogenicity studies have been performed in rats (dosing duration of 104 weeks) and mice (dosing duration of 91 weeks) at doses up to and including 900 mg/kg/day and 1500 mg/kg/day, respectively. These doses are both approximately 4 times the maximum recommended human daily dose of 2000 mg based on body surface area comparisons. No evidence of carcinogenicity with metformin was found in either male or female mice. Similarly, there was no tumorigenic potential observed with metformin in male rats. There was, however, an increased incidence of benign stromal uterine polyps in female rats treated with 900 mg/kg/day. There was no evidence of a mutagenic potential of metformin in the following in vitro tests: Ames test ( S. typhimurium), gene mutation test (mouse lymphoma cells), or chromosomal aberrations test (human lymphocytes). Results in the in vivo mouse micronucleus test were also negative. Fertility of male or female rats was unaffected by metformin when administered at doses as high as 600 mg/kg/day, which is approximately 3 times the maximum recommended human daily dose based on body surface area comparisons. Pregnancy Teratogenic Effects: Pregnancy Category B Recent information strongly suggests that abnormal blood glucose levels during pregnancy are associated with a higher incidence of congenital abnormalities. Most experts recommend that insulin be used during pregnancy to maintain blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, GLUCOPHAGE and GLUCOPHAGE XR should not be used during pregnancy unless clearly needed. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women with GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR. Metformin was not teratogenic in rats and rabbits at doses up to 600 mg/kg/day. This represents an exposure of about 2 and 6 times the maximum recommended human daily dose of 2000 mg based on body surface area comparisons for rats and rabbits, respectively. Determination of fetal concentrations demonstrated a partial placental barrier to metformin. Nursing Mothers Studies in lactating rats show that metformin is excreted into milk and reaches levels comparable to those in plasma. Similar studies have not been conducted in nursing mothers. Because the potential for hypoglycemia in nursing infants may exist, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother. If GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOPHAGE XR is discontinued, and if diet alone is inadequate for controlling blood glucose, insulin therapy should be considered. Pediatric Use The safety and effectiveness of GLUCOPHAGE for the treatment of type 2 diabetes have been established in pediatric patients ages 10 to 16 years (studies have not been conducted in pediatric patients below the age of 10 years). Use of GLUCOPHAGE in this age group is supported by evidence from adequate and well-controlled studies of GLUCOPHAGE in adults with additional data from a controlled clinical study in pediatric patients ages 10 to 16 years with type 2 diabetes, which demonstrated a similar response in glycemic control to that seen in adults. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY : Pediatric Clinical Studies . ) In this study, adverse effects were similar to those described in adults. (See ADVERSE REACTIONS : Pediatric Patients.) A maximum daily dose of 2000 mg is recommended. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION : Recommended Dosing Schedule: Pediatrics.) Safety and effectiveness of GLUCOPHAGE XR in pediatric patients have not been established. Geriatric Use Controlled clinical studies of GLUCOPHAGE and GLUCOPHAGE XR did not include sufficient numbers of elderly patients to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients, although other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy and the higher risk of lactic acidosis. Assess renal function more frequently in elderly patients (see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS, and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).