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Old 17.01.2021, 14:14
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Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Greetings,

I take Metformin for my diabetes. I do not have my prescription from my home country, and I was wondering if you can buy it in Swiss, German or French pharmacies without a prescription.

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!). I do not speak any of the Swiss official languages to make matters even more daunting.

I am very shy so I wanted to ask in this forum to see if you know before venturing to a Pharmacy.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 17.01.2021, 14:21
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

you will need a prescription, they wont give it to you without one
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Old 17.01.2021, 14:50
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Certainly not. It's prescription only.

If you have a low franchise then the cost won't be too bad and most doctors will speak some English. Husband's diabetic doctor speaks it very well.
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Old 17.01.2021, 15:17
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Almost every doctor Ive encountered in Switzerland speaks English. I seriously doubt any of them would not write a prescription particularly if you have been using it for some time.

Diabetes can be managed, but you do need professional help. Im guessing T2 as you dont appear to be on Insulin.

Im T1 over 46 years, A1c is 6.8 and TIT (time in target) over 80%.
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Old 17.01.2021, 15:25
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

The most important issue, is that your Diabetes has to be tested regularly, your HBA1C every 3 months. To make sure you keep it under control- the alternative does not bear thinking about.
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Old 17.01.2021, 15:35
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Actually Jackie, the importance of HbA1c is being overshadowed by the importance of TIT. The A1c obscures wide swings between highs and lows, it is sorta of an average. A period of extreme lows offset by a equal period of extreme highs gives a good number. But the length of time between lows and highs gives a much more accurate picture.

I had a very long discussion with my diabetaloge on this and I think I convinced her. She now favours TIT but this requires continuous glucose monitoring. Fortunately these are covered by the Swiss basic insurance coverage.
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Old 17.01.2021, 15:39
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Many people in Switzerland with diabetes are managed by their family doctor, and metformin is dirt cheap. So go see your family doctor, have a test, and get a prescription. It should not be too expensive and not too bad, and it is important to your health.
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Old 17.01.2021, 15:47
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Fear not. The medical literature is basically in English, and English is fast replacing German/French when docs from all parts of the country get together and have to communicate in different languages. My bet is you wouldn‘t even need to see an endocrinologist. Most Swiss GPs can and do prescribe meds for diabetes, and if you‘ve been taking the stuff a long time, it makes obvious sense to continue. Many GPs are quite comfortable checking HbA1c themselves. You might, however, get lectured about the importance of your cooperation. I‘m not sure that‘s a bad thing :-) In any case, it makes sense to call the practice ahead of time, describe the problem and ask to speak to someone fluent in English. (Don‘t be put off if the receptionist‘s English isn‘t perfect. Less important.)
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Old 17.01.2021, 15:49
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

You could always go to a walk in clinic for a fast, affordable service. I used them in the past when I didn't have a GP.
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Old 17.01.2021, 15:55
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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You could always go to a walk in clinic for a fast, affordable service. I used them in the past when I didn't have a GP.
Im impressed that they are open 07h0 to 20h00 on a Sunday.
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Old 17.01.2021, 16:03
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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You could always go to a walk in clinic for a fast, affordable service. I used them in the past when I didn't have a GP.
Walk-in clinics are great if youre basically healthy. But for anyone with a chronic illness like the OP, Id consider it preferable to have a GP who knows him or her. Changes in the team can lead to oversights. Just a thought.
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Old 17.01.2021, 16:06
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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Walk-in clinics are great if you‘re basically healthy. But for anyone with a chronic illness like the OP, I‘d consider it preferable to have a GP who knows him or her. Changes in the team can lead to oversights. Just a thought.
The OP seemed to suggest they just needed a repeat prescription, so a full baselining seems a little excessive if they are in-between regular check ups. However I would agree getting registered with a GP would be optimal.
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Old 17.01.2021, 16:19
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

To solve the immediate problem, getting a prescription, a walk in clinic should suffice. For the longer term then an endocrinologist should be consulted. The walk-in Dr. should be able to give a referal.

To the OP treatment of diabetes is very good here. But it is expensive. You should have the lowest possible insurance franchise, even though the monthly costs are higher. Anyone with a chronic condition should have this.
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Old 17.01.2021, 17:17
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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To solve the immediate problem, getting a prescription, a walk in clinic should suffice. For the longer term then an endocrinologist should be consulted. The walk-in Dr. should be able to give a referal.

To the OP treatment of diabetes is very good here. But it is expensive. You should have the lowest possible insurance franchise, even though the monthly costs are higher. Anyone with a chronic condition should have this.
The cost depends. If you choose constant glucose monitoring, or take meds like insulin, ozempic, etc, then it is expensive, and you are correct, the lowest franchise makes sense. But if your diabetes is maintained on metformin and similar generics and you choose not to have constant glucose monitoring, but rather see your doctor every three to six months....as long as this remains the same, its not expensive, so you do could have a higher franchise.

However, diabetes is often progressive and at some point, you may need more care, at which time a lower franchise makes sense.

But in general, I agree that if you have a chronic condition you should have a lower franchise. I just know that health choices are very individual.
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Old 17.01.2021, 17:25
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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To solve the immediate problem, getting a prescription, a walk in clinic should suffice. For the longer term then an endocrinologist should be consulted. The walk-in Dr. should be able to give a referal.

To the OP treatment of diabetes is very good here. But it is expensive. You should have the lowest possible insurance franchise, even though the monthly costs are higher. Anyone with a chronic condition should have this.
It would truly be medically unethical to give a prescription for Metformin without testing Hba1C first. One of my concerns for those walk-in clinics- that have no medical history and will often provide drugs or treatment without sound medical basis.
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Old 17.01.2021, 17:43
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

The walk in clinic could easily do a blood test to measure the Hb1aC before issuing a prescription. Having said that the Hb1aC alone probably wont actually tell them much, if the diabetes is well controlled by the meds it should be within normal range.
If the OP is running short s/he could take whats left of their current meds with them and they may issue an emergency short term prescription to tide them over until they find a doctor to see.
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Old 17.01.2021, 17:54
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

Can you have the medical prescription from your home country sent to you (by e-mail)? That would probably be the simplest solution. In general pharmacies here will fulfill such a prescription, though obviously off-insurance, so you would be paying yourself. However Metformin is one of the cheapest medications available, even here in Switzerland.
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Old 17.01.2021, 18:04
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

In many countries, Metformin is taken for weight loss, and not really for diabetes. Which is why it is important for the medic to check that it is medically required.
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Old 17.01.2021, 18:11
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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The walk in clinic could easily do a blood test to measure the Hb1aC before issuing a prescription. Having said that the Hb1aC alone probably wont actually tell them much, if the diabetes is well controlled by the meds it should be within normal range.
If the OP is running short s/he could take whats left of their current meds with them and they may issue an emergency short term prescription to tide them over until they find a doctor to see.
I had SWICA HMO model health insurance in Zurich, they had a lab onsite & would take blood 15 minutes before seeing the Dr. The Dr could then see results immediately. If other tests were then required they could be done whilst you wait, so no second appointment required. Way better service than I got going to a normal Dr in CH/ FR / UK / MT.
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Old 17.01.2021, 18:25
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Re: Can you buy Metformin/ Glucophage without prescription?

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In many countries, Metformin is taken for weight loss, and not really for diabetes. Which is why it is important for the medic to check that it is medically required.
Actually, I believe its more commonly prescribed for polycystic ovary syndrome, which is a legitimate use, and weight loss is often the consequence.


Permanence clinics are all over and I think they might be a decent walk in choice.
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