Metformin, does it matter when you take it?

I am on 2000 mg of Metformin daily. Its 4 500mg pills.

I have been taking them one with breakfast, one with lunch, one with dinner and one with a snack at bedtime.

Looking at the insructions on the prescription more closely, I find that I am supposed to take 2 pills twice daily.

Does it make any dfference?

Perhaps I should double up when I eat less carefully, and one at a time for the rest of the time.

Perhaps I should just take them at 6 AM, 12 noon, 6 PM and 12 midnight regardless of when I eat?

Perhaps it doesn't matter.

It does make a difference. I’d double check with your doctor. If you are getting good control the way you are taking it then I’d discuss keeping it that way- if not, you should take them as prescribed, but either way: I would take it consistently. Taking one at a time and then doubling up other days might not be such a hot idea. It also matters if you are taking the XR or extended release pills or just the regular.

Didn’t your doctor tell you how they want you to take it? Is it supposed to be one pill 4 times a day or should it be 2 pills 2 times a day. But yes, the 2 pills twice a day sounds more reasonable. That is what I would do but call to confirm first.

I take 500mg twice a day. But yeah, it does make a difference. Taking 1000mg with your meal is stronger than just 500mg. In any case, they should be spaced out. My first doctor told me to take mine at breakfast and lunch which seemed odd to me but I did it that way in the beginning but than I moved and swtiched doctors and he told me to do dinner and not lunch which I like better. I guess I still have that 8hr rule in my head like most pills do. Space them out at even intervals twice a day.

The four times a day thing doesn’t seem like a normal routinue to me. I am pretty sure the 1000mg (2 pills) twice a day is what you are supposed to be doing - but yes, call first.

I think Met is effective for 12-16 hours. I only take it once a day, but the few D i know personally that take it more frequently take it twice a day (before breakfast and before dinner). i would check with your doc and see what he suggests before making any change, assuming he advised you to take it throughout the day.

I take Metformin 1000mg 2X a day, currently with breakfast at 7:45am and with dinner at 6:15pm.

Metformin has three major effects, it increases your insulin sensitivity, it reduces the amount of glucose produced by your liver, and it impedes the absorption of carbs in your digestive system. Most guidelines suggest that metformin accumulates and reaches full efffectiveness in 6-8 weeks, which would suggest that timing does not matter. My experience is otherwise.

  1. Taking the dose at different times and in smaller batches can help gastric distress

  2. I believe the blocking carbs effect is timed and taking your insulin to maximize that can help.

ps. And as a final corrolary, I believe the blocking of the carbs actually leads to gastric distress as it enables carbs to flow further down in your gut enabling them to “ferment.” They don’t call it “metfartin” for nothin.

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Jeff D,
The instructions on the prescription label are what the doctor said to do, so his office nurse will adhere to it if you call. Consistency is important.
And bsc, metfartin is so true. If it’s happening, discuss with provider and get something else.