When To Take Metformin: Should You Take Metformin At Night?

If you are on metformin and you have questions about when and how to take the drug, this article is for you. 

Read on to learn more about the best time to take metformin, the benefit of taking metformin at night, whether you should take it with food or not, how to store the drug, and much more.

When to take metformin

The time you should take metformin depends on various factors, such as the number of pills you are supposed to take every day and whether you are taking other drugs or not. 

Discuss the best time to take the drug with your doctor. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Be consistent: The most important thing is to make sure you are being consistent. It is best to take your metformin at a time that you’ll remember every day. Taking the drug at the same time each day will help you remember and avoid missed doses. 
  • Take it with meals: Because metformin can cause digestive problems like diarrhea, nausea, and bloating, it is best to take it with meals or immediately after. This helps reduce the chances of these side effects occurring. It also helps reduce the chances of you getting hypoglycemic if you take metformin with other antidiabetic drugs. 
  • Avoid taking it before you work out: If you are on other antidiabetics, particularly insulin, taking metformin right before a workout can increase the chances of developing hypoglycemia. It is best to take metformin hours before or after you exercise if you are on other anti-diabetic drugs. 

What is the benefit of taking metformin at night?

Some studies have shown that taking metformin at night (just before bedtime) may help to reduce high blood sugar levels in the morning, in addition to lowering blood sugar overnight. 

If you take metformin only once a day, you could try taking it at night with your dinner or right after. If you take metformin twice or more times a day, try to include a bedtime dose.

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How to take metformin

Metformin is an oral medication that comes in tablet, powder, and liquid form. It should be taken with food or just after eating to minimize the risks of getting digestive side effects.

If you take the tablet form, drink it with a whole glass of water. Avoid chewing or breaking the tablet. 

If you take the powdered form, pour the powder into a glass and add about 150 milliliters (ml) of water. Stir it up until the mixture turns clear or a bit cloudy, and drink immediately.

How much metformin can you take?

The number of doses you take, the time in between doses, and the duration of time you take the medicine depend on your condition and how well your blood sugar is being controlled. 

Metformin is available in different strengths. It comes in two different forms:

Type Of MetforminDosages
Immediate-release tablets500 milligrams (mg), 850mg, 1000mg tablets
Extended-release tablets500mg, 750mg, 1000mg strengths

The immediate-release (standard) tablets are released into your blood quickly. Extended (or slow) release tablets take longer to work. The drug gets absorbed into the blood at a slower rate. The slow-release form is taken less often because it works for a longer period in the body. 

Most doctors start with 500mg daily or twice daily and gradually adjust the dose based on the target sugar level. Dosing shouldn’t exceed 2000mg in a day. 

Who can take metformin?

Most adults and children who are 10 years or older can take metformin. It is generally safe to take during pregnancy alone or along with insulin. 

You can also breastfeed your baby while taking metformin if they are healthy. Small amounts of the drug can pass into the breastmilk, but this has not been shown to cause any side effects for the baby. 

However, if you are a lactating mother on metformin and you notice the following symptoms in your baby, visit your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Drowsiness
  • Not feeding well
  • Pale
  • More sweaty than usual
  • Hungrier than usual
  • Irritable
  • Peeing more 

Who cannot take metformin?

Metformin may not be appropriate if you:

  • have uncontrolled diabetes
  • are allergic to metformin
  • drink large amounts of alcohol
  • have kidney or liver disease
  • have a serious infection
  • had a heart attack recently or are undergoing treatment for a heart attack
  • have trouble breathing or problems with your circulation

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If you forget to take the medication

If you forget to take your metformin, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if the time is close to your next dose, leave the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. 

You should never take twice the dose to make up for a missed one. If you forget to take your drugs often, try to set an alarm to remind you when it is time.

If you take too much metformin

Taking an overdose of metformin can lead to serious consequences that can be life-threatening. You may experience symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness/fatigue
  • Fast breathing
  • Stomach pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling cold

If you take more than your prescribed dose of metformin, call your local emergency line or ambulance service, or ask someone to help take you to the hospital. Do not drive yourself. 

Can you crush oral metformin tablets?

For some people, the metformin tablet may literally be a hard pill to swallow. To swallow it easily, you may be tempted to break, crush or chew the tablet. 

However, crushing, chewing, or breaking metformin is discouraged as this may affect the absorption process and the dose. It may also increase your chances of having stomach upset or other digestive side effects.

Inform your doctor if you have any difficulty taking the tablets so that a better alternative can be sought for you.

How long should metformin be taken?

Type 2 diabetes can require continuous treatment to manage your blood sugar. Your doctor may put you on metformin for a long time until it no longer effectively lowers your blood sugar. 

In that case, another drug may be given in addition to metformin. Or, you may be asked to stop taking metformin and switch to another drug. 

If you stop taking your metformin, please inform your doctor. Suddenly stopping your metformin can cause a rise in your sugar levels and a worsening of your diabetes.

Do you take metformin before or after meals?

Preferably, metformin should be taken with food or after a meal. Taking it before a meal is not recommended as this can predispose you to diarrhea, stomach upset, and other digestive symptoms. 

When you take the medication along with your food, it helps to reduce the risk of getting these problems. This is particularly important during the first few weeks of starting to use the drug.

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What happens if you take metformin on an empty stomach?

Metformin is safe to take with or without food. However, if you are prone to its side effects, avoid taking it on an empty stomach, as this may cause nausea that could last the whole day. 

Only take metformin on an empty stomach if you have to. For instance, if you’ve been asked to fast before a blood test or a procedure, you can safely take metformin without eating. 

Can I take an extra metformin if my blood sugar is high?

You should never take more metformin than your doctor prescribed without consulting them first. When you take more metformin, you increase your chances of getting side effects that may be severe.

If your blood sugar remains uncontrolled, it is best to inform your healthcare provider, who may adjust the dose or add another medication to your regimen.

How to store metformin

Metformin should be kept in a closed container. It must be kept dry and at room temperature – away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not freeze it. 

Keep metformin (and all medicines) away from the reach of children.

Dispose of any medicine you no longer need or medicine that is expired. You can enquire from your healthcare provider about the proper way to get rid of drugs.


Metformin is a drug used in the treatment of diabetes type 2 and some other forms of diabetes, such as gestational diabetes and pregestational diabetes. It is also used by some in the treatment of women who have PCOS. 

The drug belongs to a group of antidiabetic medications called biguanides. It decreases blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity. 

It is usually the first line of treatment for type 2 diabetes and can be used with other oral diabetes drugs or insulin for blood sugar control. 

Metformin is an oral medicine that comes in tablet, powder, and liquid form. The amount of metformin and the frequency you take it depends on factors such as the severity of your condition and the dose available at your local pharmacy.

You should take metformin with a meal or after to reduce the risks of having stomach upset, diarrhea, nausea, and other digestive symptoms. 

Some studies have shown that taking it at night may help to improve sugar levels the next morning. 

Avoid crushing, breaking, or chewing the tablet, as this may affect the absorption of the drug. Please contact your doctor if you have any other questions about how and when to take metformin.

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  1. Hyer S, Balani J, Shehata H. Metformin in Pregnancy: Mechanisms and Clinical Applications. Int J Mol Sci. 2018.
  2. Ravina A, Minuchin O. [Bedtime administration of metformin may reduce insulin requirements]. Harefuah. 1990.

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