Transdermal Metformin Therapy TMT: Avoid Unwanted Side Effects

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Tate Mock, PharmD

Metformin is an effective FDA approved drug that is used as a first line therapy to treat patients with Type II diabetes. Metformin may also be used to prevent the development of diabetes in people at risk, for treatment of polycystic ovaries (PCOS), and for weight gain due to medications used for treating psychoses.

Unfortunately for the 10 million people across the U.S. who are taking metformin tablets, 1 in 3 will experience uncomfortable side effects such as nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. These intolerable side effects often lead to a discontinuation of therapy.

Here at Pavilion Compounding Pharmacy, located in Atlanta Georgia, we have been working with several healthcare providers to create a solution to reduce or eliminate many of the undesirable side effects of metformin.

Using our formulation expertise, we have been able to take metformin USP powder and incorporate it into a transdermal base, Lipoderm®, that can be applied topically. According to many recent studies, transdermal metformin is an effective alternative for patients who cannot tolerate the oral dose or cannot swallow the large tablets. The transdermal option allows the drug to be absorbed into the body while bypassing the gastrointestinal system and thus avoiding many of the unpleasant side effects.

Another advantage of using transdermal metformin therapy is that a patient’s dose is generally only 10% of the oral dose. For example, if a patient was taking one 500mg tablet twice daily, they would only need to apply 50mg twice daily of the transdermal metformin. The current literature supports a dose of 50mg applied topically twice daily to the inner wrist. This dose can be titrated accordingly based upon patient’s blood glucose levels.

Using the most advanced technology, Pavilion Compounding Pharmacy, runs transdermal metformin cream through our ointment mill. This helps to ensure an even mix and small particle size for optimal absorption. The cream is then further mixed, using our electronic mortar and pestle machine.

Transdermal metformin therapy, TMT, is another example of how we, at Pavilion Compounding Pharmacy, are committed to working with healthcare professionals and our patients to provide alternative solutions to problems that arise with commercially available products.

We look forward to addressing your questions and calls regarding compounding formulations. Please give us a call at 404-350-5780. You may also e-mail us at