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  #21  
Old 17.01.2021, 18:27
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

That too- but often used for weight loss only- very well documented - in some countries. The point being any doctor prescribing this in CH should check that there is a genuine medical reason for it.

There are all sorts of contraindications which would make Metformin detrimental to health or worse, unfortunately.

(The most significant adverse drug reactions of metformin are lactic acidosis, allergies, hypoglycemia, vitamin B12 deficiency, altered taste, and gastrointestinal intolerance. Metformin is contraindicated in severe chronic diseases (hepatic, renal, and cardiac failure) or acute complications of diabetes (ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar state).

Last edited by JackieH; 17.01.2021 at 18:45.
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  #22  
Old 17.01.2021, 19:16
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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That too- but often used for weight loss only- very well documented - in some countries. The point being any doctor prescribing this in CH should check that there is a genuine medical reason for it.

There are all sorts of contraindications which would make Metformin detrimental to health or worse, unfortunately.

(The most significant adverse drug reactions of metformin are lactic acidosis, allergies, hypoglycemia, vitamin B12 deficiency, altered taste, and gastrointestinal intolerance. Metformin is contraindicated in severe chronic diseases (hepatic, renal, and cardiac failure) or acute complications of diabetes (ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar state).
Ok then, but the OP has been prescribed metformin for diabetes.
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  #23  
Old 17.01.2021, 19:28
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Totally, so back to post 5.
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  #24  
Old 17.01.2021, 19:30
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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Ok then, but the OP has been prescribed metformin for diabetes.
Exactly.
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  #25  
Old 17.01.2021, 21:27
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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Having said that the Hb1aC alone probably won’t actually tell them much, if the diabetes is well controlled by the meds it should be within normal range.
That‘s a big if, and it remains the prescribing doc‘s responsibility to check whether it is the case. They would absolutely want to do that, especially not knowing you - unless perhaps you can provide (recent) records from abroad? There is a small but real potential for abuse. I know. One does get a bit jaded. Hard to even take sentences at face value any more such as „I was prescribed X for Y“ after a few years of seeing what people can get up to. Most don‘t, of course.

As for filling a prescription from your country of origin, there are time limits, so it has to be fairly recent, usually not more than six months for a „Dauerrezept“.
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  #26  
Old 17.01.2021, 21:31
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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I do not speak any of the Swiss official languages to make matters even more daunting.
I am yet to meet a Swiss Dr who does not speak English (they wouldn't be able to study effectively without it).
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  #27  
Old 17.01.2021, 21:39
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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I am yet to meet a Swiss Dr who does not speak English (they wouldn't be able to study effectively without it).
I have met plenty who canít communicate effectively in English.

Being able to read and understand publications in a specific field and being able to communicate with patients are two different things entirely.
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  #28  
Old 17.01.2021, 22:38
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Ours is French and her English is non existent. What is important though, is that no doctor prescribes a drug for a very serious condition, without ensuring proper history is taken and tests done, so that said diabetes can be checked regularly - the consequences are dire.

The Swiss insurance system is truly bad in this instance- as so many people have large franchise to save money, and will not go to doctor until very clearly sick- and in the case of diabetes, too late- with ensuing loss of sight, feet, and further amputations. In the UK, people are picked up much earlier, checked regularly, with automatic appointments sent, and repeated if necessary, and even calls home and personal e-mails- for regular follow-up checks, including eyes, feet, etc. Here in CH, it is left entirely to the patient's responsibility. Sadly in many cases- it just does not work- heads go in sand, time passes and then disaster strucks.
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  #29  
Old 17.01.2021, 23:04
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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Ours is French and her English is non existent. What is important though, is that no doctor prescribes a drug for a very serious condition, without ensuring proper history is taken and tests done, so that said diabetes can be checked regularly - the consequences are dire.

The Swiss insurance system is truly bad in this instance- as so many people have large franchise to save money, and will not go to doctor until very clearly sick- and in the case of diabetes, too late- with ensuing loss of sight, feet, and further amputations. In the UK, people are picked up much earlier, checked regularly, with automatic appointments sent, and repeated if necessary, and even calls home and personal e-mails- for regular follow-up checks, including eyes, feet, etc. Here in CH, it is left entirely to the patient's responsibility. Sadly in many cases- it just does not work- heads go in sand, time passes and then disaster strucks.
Indeed, but the OP is likely not in this category.
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  #30  
Old 17.01.2021, 23:12
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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I have met plenty who can’t communicate effectively in English.

Being able to read and understand publications in a specific field and being able to communicate with patients are two different things entirely.
Ditto.

Of the various doctors I've seen, only one offers consultations in English. All others consult in German only. To be expected where I live, but I was a bit surprised to also find German-only at one of the Unispital clinics.

But not to worry if one's German is not up to snuff - in hospital your care is largely in the hands of nurses and technicians, who IME were more willing to switch to English, probably because many are not German mother tongue either.
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  #31  
Old 17.01.2021, 23:19
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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Indeed, but the OP is likely not in this category.
if you re-read the OP, she is exactly in that category, hence my comment.

''I have the cheapest insurance in Switzerland and the idea of having to call the general number, get an appointment with a family doctor to get redirected to the endocrinologist to maybe get a Swiss prescription seems really complicated (and expensive!)''
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  #32  
Old 18.01.2021, 01:36
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Call the number (I suppose you have telmed/callmed), let them direct you or go to a walk-in centre like Medix Toujours if they allow it, and take as many documents as you can get from your home country. A doctor here might even be able to call your home doctor. A visit to a GP should be maybe 80CHF and a little more if they need to do any tests. The bad thing about cheap health insurance (i.e. with a high franchise/excess) is that it puts people off getting healthcare that they need.
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  #33  
Old 18.01.2021, 08:51
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

In addition to medicine a T2 should have a decent glucose monitoring kit. Test strips for these cost a franc each. One needs at least 8 of these a day. (Before and after every meal, on arising and going to bed) Thatís at least f2,200 a year.

I would recommend visits to your GP or endocrinologist 4 times a year with full bloods once a year, A1c tests with each visit.

All of the above is covered by health insurance.

Iím not so certain if the continuos glucose monitoring are covered for T2s but if they are, they too are expensive. Each sensor costs f62 each and works for two weeks. f1612 a year. (The costs of test strips can be cut by 90%)

Being diabetic is expensive, but thank goodness our health insurance covers much of the costs.
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  #34  
Old 18.01.2021, 15:29
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Had a quick review of annual costs of being diabetic:
Insulin pump including consumables: 3656
Glucose measurement system 1613
Insulin 1139
Metformin 138
Total 6546 per year
not including other medication nor visits to doctor or lab tests
In other words, my diabetes easily uses up the total of my 300 CHF franchise and the 10% of self-pay up to 7000 CHF.
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  #35  
Old 18.01.2021, 17:20
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Someone mentioned walk in centres. There is a really good one opposite Basel SBB railway station, Medix Toujours (they have another out at Pratteln). There's also another one in Kleinbasel at Rheingasse opposite Manor (in the building where the Maxi Bazaar store is I think). We're not registered with a GP and can recommend Medix Toujours, they can refer if need be.
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  #36  
Old 18.01.2021, 19:46
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Glad this works for you- but honestly, a condition such as Diabetes needs regular and long-term supervision by a regular doctor. My GP checks mine together with my hypothyroÔdism - she is perfectly capable of doing so without expensive referal to a specialist- and she knows perfectly well when a referal would be medically required.
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  #37  
Old 18.01.2021, 22:22
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

I fully understand that, just to clarify I only mentioned Medix Toujours as an alternative because it sounds like the OP has not registered with a doctor yet for his condition.

I was wrongly diagnosed with Type 2 by a GP back in Scotland 7 years ago who took bloods when I was at the height of a virus I'd picked up. I've never had any symptoms aside of my blood sugar being raised due to a notorious steroid I was given with cancer treatment 15 years ago. Everything went back to normal when I stopped having the steroid.

I mentioned it to my gynae lady in Basel, she had another load of tests done and I was told the only thing that was wrong with me was a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals.

It's also not unusual in Britain for women to be diagnosed Type 2 when they actually have thyroid problems, GPs are notorious for not being able to understand thyroid test results.
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  #38  
Old 19.01.2021, 11:03
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

GPs may be OK with diabetes, but are clearly not as good with it as a specialist. When I was first diagnosed with diabetes by my GP, she immediately told me she wasn't comfortable with diabetics and packed me off to a specialist. As it happens I contracted T1 diabetes at the age of 50, an unusual condition, and it wouldn't surprize me if most GPs were not familiar with this, even though the treatment is largely the same as for any T1 diabetic. My GP originally decided I was T2 (50 ish, slightly overweight, etc.), but the treatment for T2 is not really the same. T1 requires the use of insulin, T2 not necessarily.
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  #39  
Old 19.01.2021, 13:03
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Indeed- and that is the sign of a great GP- one who knows when to call it a day and refer to specialist.

But you make the point very clearly- getting any treament for diabetes, be it Type 1 or even Type 2- is not from a pharmacy or walking clinic. The consequences of poor long-term care and supervision are just too dire.

Last edited by JackieH; 19.01.2021 at 13:27.
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Old 16.02.2021, 18:31
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Sorry to jump on the bandwagon here, but I've been described metformin again after stopping it myself about 4 years ago when I first diagnosed with PCOS cause I couldn't handle its side effects (started directly on 1000mg glucophage XR).
My doctor agreed to start small this time, just 500mg but warned me that I wouldn't find the slow releasing form (XR) in Switzerland and might have better luck in France or elsewhere..

Given that I have a prescription, how likely is it to get a mail-in order from France and is it actually legal?? Why isn't the XR form commercialised in Switzerland, this boggles me..
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