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 four 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 three times the maximum recommended human daily dose based on body surface area comparisons.
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, metformin should not be used during pregnancy unless clearly needed.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women with metformin. Metformin was not teratogenic in rats and rabbits at doses up to 600 mg/kg/day. This represents an exposure of about two and six 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.
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 metformin is discontinued, and if diet alone is inadequate for controlling blood glucose, insulin therapy should be considered.
The safety and effectiveness of metformin hydrochloride tablets, USP for 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 metformin hydrochloride tablets, USP in this age group is supported by evidence from adequate and well-controlled studies of Metformin in adults with additional data from a controlled clinical study in pediatric patients ages 10-16 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.)
Controlled clinical studies of metformin hydrochloride tablets, USP 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. Metformin is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney and because the risk of serious adverse reactions to the drug is greater in patients with impaired renal function, it should only be used in patients with normal renal function (see CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS, and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Pharmacokinetics). Because aging is associated with reduced renal function, metformin should be used with caution as age increases. Care should be taken in dose selection and should be based on careful and regular monitoring of renal function. Generally, elderly patients should not be titrated to the maximum dose of metformin (see also WARNINGS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
In a U.S. double-blind clinical study of metformin in patients with type 2 diabetes, a total of 141 patients received metformin therapy (up to 2550 mg per day) and 145 patients received placebo.
Adverse reactions reported in greater than 5% of the metformin patients, and that were more common in metformin than placebo-treated patients, are listed in Table 7.
|Table 7. Most Common Adverse Reactions (>5.0%) in aPlacebo-Controlled Clinical Study of Metformin Monotherapy*|
|Adverse Reaction||% of Patients|
|* Reactions that were more common in metformin- than placebo-treated patients|
Diarrhea led to discontinuation of study medication in 6% of patients treated with metformin.
Additionally, the following adverse reactions were reported in ≥1.0-≤ 5.0% of metformin patients and were more commonly reported with metformin than placebo: abnormal stools, hypoglycemia, myalgia, lightheaded, dyspnea, nail disorder, rash, sweating increased, taste disorder, chest discomfort, chills, flu syndrome, flushing, palpitation.
In clinical trials with metformin hydrochloride tablets, USP in pediatric patients with type 2 diabetes, the profile of adverse reactions was similar to that observed in adults.
Overdose of metformin hydrochloride has occurred, including ingestion of amounts greater than 50 grams. Hypoglycemia was reported in approximately 10% of cases, but no causal association with metformin hydrochloride has been established. Lactic acidosis has been reported in approximately 32% of metformin overdose cases (see WARNINGS). Metformin is dialyzable with a clearance of up to 170 mL/min under good hemodynamic conditions. Therefore, hemodialysis may be useful for removal of accumulated drug from patients in whom metformin overdosage is suspected.
There is no fixed dosage regimen for the management of hyperglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes with metformin or any other pharmacologic agent. Dosage of metformin must be individualized on the basis of both effectiveness and tolerance, while not exceeding the maximum recommended daily dose. The maximum recommended daily dose of metformin hydrochloride tablets, USP is 2550 mg in adults and 2000 mg in pediatric patients (10-16 years of age).
Metformin should be given in divided doses with meals and should be started at a low dose, with gradual dose escalation, both to reduce gastrointestinal side effects and to permit identification of the minimum dose required for adequate glycemic control of the patient.
During treatment initiation and dose titration (see Recommended Dosing Schedule), fasting plasma glucose should be used to determine the therapeutic response to metformin and identify the minimum effective dose for the patient. Thereafter, glycosylated hemoglobin should be measured at intervals of approximately three months. The therapeutic goal should be to decrease both fasting plasma glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin levels to normal or near normal by using the lowest effective dose of metformin hydrochloride tablets, USP either when used as monotherapy or in combination with sulfonylureas or insulin.
Monitoring of blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin will also permit detection of primary failure, i.e., inadequate lowering of blood glucose at the maximum recommended dose of medication, and secondary failure, i.e., loss of an adequate blood glucose lowering response after an initial period of effectiveness.
Short-term administration of metformin may be sufficient during periods of transient loss of control in patients usually well-controlled on diet alone.
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