Metformin hydrochloride is a generic prescription drug used along with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar levels in people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. It reduces blood glucose levels by increasing the uptake of blood sugar by the body’s cells. Metformin is typically prescribed not only as a first-line treatment for Type 2 diabetes but is often used with other antidiabetic drugs when metformin alone cannot adequately control blood sugar.
Usually taken twice per day, doses will be determined based on blood sugar levels. The standard dose is 850 to 1000 mg per day, but this could rise to as much as 2,550 mg per day. Metformin is most commonly prescribed as a generic, but there are brand-name versions of metformin and extended-release metformin: Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Fortamet, Glumetza, Riomet, and Riomet ER. Note that several of the brand-name versions, including Glucophage, Glucophage XR, and Fortamet, have been discontinued in the U.S. There are no over-the-counter drugs or supplements that can be effectively or safely substituted for prescription metformin.
RELATED: Metformin side effects
Is metformin covered by insurance?
As an inexpensive, first-line treatment for Type 2 diabetes, generic metformin and metformin ER are covered by a majority of health insurance plans, Medicare drug plans, and Medicaid.
How much does metformin cost without insurance?
Metformin is a commonly prescribed and inexpensive generic drug. A one-month prescription for 60, 1000 mg tablets averages $20, a little over thirty cents per pill. Most people will take metformin for several years if not a lifetime, so patients can expect to pay $240 a year if they’re paying the full cash price. Health insurance will reduce that cost, but the yearly out-of-pocket cost will depend on the insurance plan, copay cost, and deductible.
Metformin is the sole representative of a class of antidiabetic drugs called biguanides. It is also the first-line and one of the most inexpensive treatments for Type 2 diabetes. Some generic versions of diabetes medications such as glimepiride or glipizide cost about as much as metformin, but healthcare professionals are unlikely to prescribe these drugs in place of metformin. They are more likely to prescribe these drugs in combination with metformin when metformin alone is not adequately controlling blood sugar. Over-the-counter medications and supplements are never effective substitutes for prescription diabetes medications.
Compare metformin prices to related drugs
|Price without insurance for brand-name drug
60, 1000 mg tablets
60, 1000 mg tablets for generic metformin
|See updated prices
(brand name Glumetza)
60, 500 mg extended-release tablets
60, 500 mg extended-release tablets for generic metformin er
|See updated prices
(metformin oral solution)
|$867 per 473 ml, 500 mg/5ml solution
per 473 ml, 500 mg/5ml solution for generic Riomet
|See updated prices
Prescription drug prices often change. These are the most accurate medication prices at the time of publishing. The listed price without insurance references the price of brand-name drugs. The listed SingleCare price references the price of generic drugs if available. Click the link under “Savings options” to see updated drug prices.
How to get metformin without insurance
Metformin is a very common and inexpensive prescription drug. Even so, budgeting for a monthly supply of any prescription drug can be difficult. Manufacturers of brand-name drugs may have manufacturer coupons, savings programs, or patient assistance programs that can lower the cost of these expensive medicines but generics typically don’t have similar savings programs. However, there are ways to lower the cost of metformin to roughly equal to or less than common over-the-counter drugs.
1. Take advantage of a SingleCare savings card
With a free coupon from SingleCare, a 30-day supply of metformin can cost as little as $4. All that’s required is to select a coupon based on price or local pharmacy on SingleCare’s metformin discount coupon page. The savings card can be printed, emailed, or sent to a smartphone and used right away to enjoy prescription discounts.
2. Ask the prescriber for a 90-day prescription
A 90-day supply of metformin, 180 tablets, is usually less expensive than three 30-day fills. Combined with a SingleCare discount card, a 90-day supply can be purchased for as little as $6.94.
3. Compare pharmacy prices
Pharmaceutical companies often list their drugs at a specified retail price, but pharmacies frequently tack on additional charges. Even low-cost generic drugs can have significant price differences between pharmacies. Many pharmacies accept SingleCare coupons, saving even more on a prescription.
4. Visit county or city health officials
Many people don’t realize that their communities and local governments may be able to help with healthcare costs. County and municipal health departments know about local resources, community health clinics, low-cost health insurance, and where to get lower-priced medications. They can help people determine if they’re eligible for Medicaid and guide the enrollment process.
5. Ask the prescriber about combination metformin drugs
While there are many other generic antidiabetic medications, there is no cheaper or more appropriate prescription medication to replace metformin. However, many people with Type 2 diabetes will find themselves taking metformin along with a second antidiabetic drug, typically generic drugs like sulfonylureas, meglitinides, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, or more expensive brand-name drugs. Many of these other diabetes drugs, including expensive brand name drugs, are available as FDA-approved combination drugs, that is, they are mixed with metformin to be taken as a single tablet or capsule. Purchasing a combination drug may be less expensive than having to pay for two prescriptions.