There have been no clinical studies establishing conclusive evidence of macrovascular risk reduction with Riomet or any other anti-diabetic drug.
Monitoring of renal function
Metformin is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of metformin accumulation and lactic acidosis increases with the degree of impairment of renal function. Thus, patients with serum creatinine levels above the upper limit of normal for their age should not receive RIOMET. In patients with advanced age, RIOMET should be carefully titrated to establish the minimum dose for adequate glycemic effect, because aging is associated with reduced renal function. In elderly patients, particularly those ≥ 80 years of age, renal function should be monitored regularly and, generally, RIOMET should not be titrated to the maximum dose (see WARNINGS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Before initiation of RIOMET therapy and at least annually thereafter, renal function should be assessed and verified as normal. In patients in whom development of renal dysfunction is anticipated, renal function should be assessed more frequently and RIOMET discontinued if evidence of renal impairment is present.
Use of concomitant medications that may affect renal function or metformin disposition
Concomitant medication(s) that may affect renal function or result in significant hemodynamic change or may interfere with the disposition of metformin, such as cationic drugs that are eliminated by renal tubular secretion (see PRECAUTIONS: Drug Interactions), should be used with caution.
Radiologic studies involving the use of intravascular iodinated contrast materials (for example, intravenous urogram, intravenous cholangiography, angiography, and computed tomography (CT) scans with intravascular contrast materials
Intravascular contrast studies with iodinated materials can lead to acute alteration of renal function and have been associated with lactic acidosis in patients receiving metformin (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
Therefore, in patients in whom any such study is planned, RIOMET should be temporarily discontinued at the time of or prior to the procedure, and withheld for 48 hours subsequent to the procedure and reinstituted only after renal function has been re-evaluated and found to be normal.
Cardiovascular collapse (shock) from whatever cause, acute congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction and other conditions characterized by hypoxemia have been associated with lactic acidosis and may also cause prerenal azotemia. When such events occur in patients on RIOMET therapy, the drug should be promptly discontinued.
RIOMET therapy should be temporarily suspended for any surgical procedure (except minor procedures not associated with restricted intake of food and fluids) and should not be restarted until the patient’s oral intake has resumed and renal function has been evaluated as normal.
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 RIOMET.
Impaired hepatic function
Since impaired hepatic function has been associated with some cases of lactic acidosis, RIOMET should generally be avoided in patients with clinical or laboratory evidence of hepatic disease.
Vitamin B12 levels
In controlled clinical trials of metformin of 29 weeks duration, a decrease to subnormal levels of previously normal serum Vitamin B 12 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 metformin or Vitamin B12 supplementation. Measurement of hematologic parameters on an annual basis is advised in patients on RIOMET and any apparent abnormalities should be appropriately investigated and managed (see PRECAUTIONS: Laboratory Tests).
Certain individuals (those with inadequate Vitamin B 12 or calcium intake or absorption) appear to be predisposed to developing subnormal Vitamin B12 levels. In these patients, routine serum Vitamin B12 measurements at two- to three-year intervals may be useful.
Change in clinical status of patients with previously controlled type 2 diabetes
A patient with type 2 diabetes previously well controlled on RIOMET who develops laboratory abnormalities or clinical illness (especially vague and poorly defined illness) should be evaluated promptly for evidence of ketoacidosis or lactic acidosis. Evaluation should include serum electrolytes and ketones, blood glucose and, if indicated, blood pH, lactate, pyruvate, and metformin levels. If acidosis of either form occurs, RIOMET must be stopped immediately and other appropriate corrective measures initiated (see also WARNINGS).
Hypoglycemia does not occur in patients receiving metformin 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.
Loss of control of blood glucose
When a patient stabilized on any diabetic regimen is exposed to stress such as fever, trauma, infection, or surgery, a temporary loss of glycemic control may occur. At such times, it may be necessary to withhold RIOMET and temporarily administer insulin. RIOMET may be reinstituted after the acute episode is resolved.
The effectiveness of oral antidiabetic drugs in lowering blood glucose to a targeted level decreases in many patients over a period of time. This phenomenon, which may be due to progression of the underlying disease or to diminished responsiveness to the drug, is known as secondary failure, to distinguish it from primary failure in which the drug is ineffective during initial therapy. Should secondary failure occur with either RIOMET or sulfonylurea monotherapy, combined therapy with RIOMET and sulfonylurea may result in a response. Should secondary failure occur with combined RIOMET /sulfonylurea therapy, it may be necessary to consider therapeutic alternatives including initiation of insulin therapy.
Information for Patients
Patients should be informed of the potential risks and benefits of RIOMET 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 RIOMET 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 RIOMET, 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 counselled against excessive alcohol intake, either acute or chronic, while receiving RIOMET.
Metformin alone does not usually cause hypoglycemia, although it may occur when metformin 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.
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 ADMINISTRATIO N).
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 metformin therapy, if this is suspected, Vitamin B 12 deficiency should be excluded.
Drug Interactions (clinical evaluation of drug interactions done with metformin)
In a single-dose interaction study in type 2 diabetes patients, co-administration 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 Metformin and Oral Sulfonylurea Therapy).
A single-dose, metformin-furosemide drug interaction study in healthy subjects demonstrated that pharmacokinetic parameters of both compounds were affected by co-administration. 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 Cmax 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 co-administered chronically.
A single-dose, metformin-nifedipine drug interaction study in normal healthy volunteers demonstrated that co-administration of nifedipine increased plasma metformin C max and AUC by 20% and 9%, respectively, and increased the amount excreted in the urine. Tmax and half-life were unaffected. Nifedipine appears to enhance the absorption of metformin. Metformin had minimal effects on nifedipine.
Cationic drugs (e.g., amiloride, digoxin, morphine, procainamide, quinidine, quinine, ranitidine, triamterene, trimethoprim, or vancomycin) that are eliminated by renal tubular secretion theoretically have the potential for interaction with metformin by competing for common renal tubular transport systems. 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. Although such interactions remain theoretical (except for cimetidine), careful patient monitoring and dose adjustment of RIOMET and/or the interfering drug is recommended in patients who are taking cationic medications that are excreted via the proximal renal tubular secretory system.
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 RIOMET, the patient should be closely observed for loss of blood glucose control. When such drugs are withdrawn from a patient receiving RIOMET, the patient should be observed closely for hypoglycemia.
In healthy volunteers, the pharmacokinetics of metformin and propranolol, and metformin and ibuprofen were not affected when co-administered 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.
Carcinogenesis and Mutagenesis and 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 4X 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. However, there was an increased incidence of benign stromal uterine polyps in female rats treated with 900 mg/kg/day. Results in Ames test, gene mutation test (mouse lymphoma cells), chromosomal aberrations test (human lymphocytes), and in vivo mouse micronucleus tests were negative. Fertility of male and female rats was not affected by metformin when administered at doses of 600 mg/kg/day, which is approximately 3X the maximum recommended human daily dose based on body surface area comparisons.
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, RIOMET 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, which is 2X and 6X the maximum recommended human daily dose of 2000 mg based on body surface area comparison for rats and rabbits, respectively. However, because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, RIOMET should not be used during pregnancy unless clearly needed. 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. It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from metformin, 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 RIOMET is discontinued, and if diet alone is inadequate for controlling blood glucose, insulin therapy should be considered.
The safety and effectiveness of metformin 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 metformin 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 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, RIOMET 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, RIOMET 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 RIOMET (see also WARNINGS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).