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Does Metformin Show Up on Drug Tests?


Diabetes is a more prevalent health issue than ever before. In America alone, more than 30 million people suffer from the condition. As such, people living with diabetes are increasingly seeking different ways to treat and control their disease. Among these options, a medication called metformin has become an increasingly commonplace part of many diabetes treatment plans.

But as with any drug, it's important to understand its usage and know whether metformin shows up on any drug tests you may need to take. If a doctor has suggested metformin for you or a loved one, here's everything you need to know about this prescription drug.

What Is Metformin?

Metformin is a hypoglycemic medication that decreases the amount of glucose released into the bloodstream after eating. Unlike some medications and treatment options, metformin can be used to address both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder that is usually diagnosed early in life, while type 2 diabetes is typically acquired later on due to lifestyle and diet habits.

Metformin is a part of the drug class known as biguanides and is often prescribed in combination with other diabetes medications. Metformin is available in two forms: metformin extended release (XR) and metformin immediate release (IR).

Metformin IR vs. Metformin XR

The main difference between metformin XR and metformin IR is how they are released into the bloodstream. Metformin XR slowly releases metformin over a longer period of time, while metformin IR comes on more quickly but has less staying power throughout the day.

How Is Metformin Taken?

Metformin XR can be taken with or without food and generally comes in 500mg tablets. Most metformin XR prescriptions start with a low dose, such as one tablet once a day with meals or as directed by your doctor. If necessary, this dosage can be increased over time. It's best to take this medication at the same time each day to maintain a consistent level of metformin in your system. If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as possible. It’s also important to remember that metformin XR is an extended-release medication, so the pill should never be crushed or chewed.

In contrast, metformin IR can be taken with or without food and generally comes in 250mg or 500mg tablets. Most metformin IR prescriptions start with a low dose, such as one tablet twice a day with meals or as directed by your doctor. If necessary, this dosage can also be increased over time. It's best to take metformin IR at evenly spaced intervals throughout the day, such as every 12 hours. As with metformin XR, if you miss a dose of metformin IR, take the missed dose as soon as possible.

Benefits of Metformin

Metformin XR can be extremely beneficial for those with diabetes. It helps reduce high blood sugar levels by decreasing the amount of glucose produced by the liver and allowing cells to use insulin better. This helps keep your blood glucose levels balanced, which can help regulate -both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Potential Side Effects of Metformin

As with any medication, metformin XR has potential side effects. These include:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • upset stomach
  • headaches

Metformin can even result in vomiting in extreme cases. If these symptoms persist, it's a good idea to speak with your doctor about adjusting the dose or switching medications.

Who Can Take Metformin?

Metformin is generally safe for most adults. However, the drug should not be taken by those with kidney or liver disease, as metformin can cause severe problems in those with impaired kidney or liver function.

Children under the age of 18 should not take metformin unless their doctor has specifically recommended it. Metformin should also be used cautiously in people over the age of 80 due to an increased risk of lactic acidosis, a condition that can be fatal.

Does Metformin Show Up on Drug Tests?

Drug testing is common for people from many walks of life. For example, it may be required for some sports teams, at certain jobs, or even after an accident. Fortunately, metformin is unlikely to show up on a drug test.

Metformin does not show up on most drug screening tests because it is not considered to be an illegal or controlled substance. However, if you are subject to a more detailed test, such as a hair follicle test, metformin may be detected. Before taking a drug test while on metformin, it's a good idea to let your test administrator know that this prescription is part of your regular routine.

What Other Prescriptions May Show Up on Your Drug Test?

In addition to metformin, other common medications may be detected on drug tests, such as:

  • opioids
  • benzodiazepines
  • amphetamines
  • barbiturates
  • cannabinoids
  • methadone
  • tricyclic antidepressants

If your drug test returns positive, you risk being disqualified from certain job opportunities. Even if the substance you're using is totally legitimate, such as a prescription for metformin, it can be difficult to undo the negative impact of a drug test after the fact. When in doubt, always be forthcoming about your use of medications, supplements, or other substances before waiting to see if they produce a positive result on a drug screening. You can also consider taking a drug test at home to determine whether any substances are likely to appear on your next drug screen.

Access Easy At-Home Drug Tests from Countrywide Testing

Although metformin won't show up on most standard drug tests, some employers, sports leagues, or government agencies may opt for more comprehensive drug screening. If you're concerned about whether or not your use of metformin or other substances will appear on a drug test, it's important to get the facts before you risk the repercussions of a false positive. At Countrywide Testing, we offer reliable and accurate drug testing services that can help you understand if any substances will show up on your test.

Countrywide is an online retailer providing you with easy access to standard drug tests. We offer an array of products for testing at home, individuals staying clean after rehab, workplace testing, healthcare emergencies, and law enforcement purposes. Our test kits are convenient, affordable, and ship to you quickly. Plus, our lab is accredited by SAMHSA, so you can rest assured your test results are handled in accordance with the highest industry standards.

At Countrywide Testing, we provide fast, accurate results in an easy-to-use format so that you can get the information you need. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive selection of testing services.