Before you take a biguanide, tell all your doctors and your pharmacist about all the medicines you take. Include medicines you take for your diabetes as well as for any other problem. Tell them about everything you take and how much you take each day, including all of the following:
- prescription medicines
- over-the-counter medicines
- vitamin and mineral supplements
It's best to keep an updated list of these and bring a copy to give to your doctor. That way you can add to it whenever you take something new or delete the types you no longer take. Make a copy for each of your doctors so that they can keep it in your file. This complete list helps your doctor be better prepared to prescribe diabetes pills that are the least likely to interact with your other treatments.
Talk to your doctor about whether you can drink alcohol when you take biguanides. Drinking alcohol can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), which can be dangerous.
Biguanides are used in combination with many other types of diabetes pills. Using pills that act in different ways in combination may be more effective than using either one on its own. But because they have similar actions, you should monitor your blood glucose levels closely. Ask your doctor what to do if you take biguanides with other diabetes pills.
Many medicines can have harmful effects when you take them with other medicines. Always tell your doctor about all the medicines that you take. Do not use any other medicine without your doctor's OK. Talk with your doctor before you take a biguanide if you take any other medicines.
Written by award-winning health writer Bobbie Hasselbring
Reviewed by Beth Seltzer, MD
Last updated June 2008