What About Side Effects
When they first start taking metformin or start taking a larger dose, some people feel sick to their stomach or have diarrhea for a short time.
Over time, blood levels of vitamin B12 can decrease in some people who take metformin. Your body needs this B vitamin to make blood cells and to keep your nervous system healthy. If you have been taking metformin for more than a few years, ask your doctor if you need a B12 blood test to measure the amount of vitamin B12 in your blood.
General information on side effects
All medicines can cause side effects. Many people don’t have side effects. And minor side effects sometimes go away after a while.
But sometimes side effects can be a problem or can be serious.
If you’re having problems with side effects, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change to a different medicine. Don’t suddenly stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor first.
Always be sure you get specific information on the medicine you’re taking. For a full list of side effects, check the information that came with the medicine you’re using. If you have questions, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
Likely Effects Of Metformin On Blood Sugar Levels
Metformin can change your blood sugar level in both the direction, it can make blood sugar level go up too high, or it can drop it extremely low, and it varies from person to person.
Usually, Metformin does not cause low blood sugar , unlike other diabetic medicines. However, it can cause low blood sugar if you do not eat on time, go for an excessive workout, take Metformin with other diabetic medicines and consume alcohol. Also, low blood pressure can lead to unconscious state below mentioned are the few symptoms of low blood sugar and you need to be extremely careful about your approach while dealing with low blood sugar.
- Behavioral change similar to intoxication
- Blurred vision and cold sweats
- Confusion and difficulty in thinking and perceiving
- Pale skin and drowsiness
- Nausea nervousness, nightmarish restlessness and slurred speech
- Unusual weakness
Anytime you experience symptoms of low blood sugar make sure to take necessary precautionary measures and remedies. Take glucose or tablets whichever is available, if possible take corn syrup. If you are at home, then you can choose usual home remedies such as honey, sugar cubes, fruit juice and check your sugar level. If things get worse such as convulsions and unconsciousness, then use glucagon. Make sure you keep glucagon kit with needle and syringe at home and learn to use it by yourself and ask your family members to learn to use it, in case you required them to inject.
What Are The Contraindications For Taking Metformin
You shouldnt take metformin if you have liver disease or poor renal function , type 1 diabetes, or if youve had lactic acidosis while taking metformin.
If you need an imaging procedure or radiology study with intravenous contrast, like a CT scan, you should temporarily stop your metformin this can help prevent kidney problems. Also, people with liver disease, in general, should avoid using metformin because it increases your risk of developing lactic acidosis .
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My Weight Has Gone Up By 10 Lbs Since Starting The Metformin Medication Is This Normal
That is not normal. Have you eaten more during this time period due to increased hunger or appetite?
Has anything else changed during this time your activity level, other medications, illnesses etc?
Or is the metformin the only variable you think is different? What is the time period?
Its unlikely that metformin would be the cause, but its recommended you eliminate all other possibilities and discuss these details with your healthcare team.
What If I Take Too Much
An overdose of a large number of metformin tablets can cause serious health problems. The symptoms are severe and quick to appear.
Urgent advice: Go to A& E now if:
- you take too many metformin tablets
Take the metformin packet or leaflet inside it, plus any remaining medicine, with you.
Like all medicines, metformin can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them.
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Common Questions About Metformin
How should the pills be stored?
Its recommended to store the pills at room temperature, between 68°77°F but they can be kept safely at 59°86°F for a while if you are traveling, etc.
The pills should always be stored in a light-resistant container .
Can Metformin cause hair loss?
No, Metformin in itself does not cause hair loss.
However, long-term use of Metformin can cause vitamin B deficiency, which in turn can prevent hair follicles from receiving oxygenated blood, leading to hair loss. Ask your doctor for a vitamin B test if you notice hair loss or thinning hair
Can I use Metformin if I am pregnant ?
Yes. Studies have not shown any risk for mother and baby when taking Metformin. However, always talk to your doctor about the medications you take when youre pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
Can you become addicted to Metformin?
No, Metformin is not addictive.
Does metformin cause cancer?
In 2019, the FDA investigated whether some forms of metformin contain high levels of a chemical called N-nitrosodimethylamine which is potentially carcinogenic .
In 2020, several companies have voluntarily recalled certain lots of the extended-release metformin based on the FDAs recommendations. You can check to see if your metformin has been recalled here.
Even if you take a Metformin product that has been recalled, its important that you continue to take your medication until you talk to your healthcare professional.
How Does Metformin Work With Food Should I Be Consistent With Carbs Throughout The Day Will My Numbers Drop Low If I Dont Eat Enough Carbs
No, your numbers will not drop low as a result of carbs and metformin. Metformin does not work better or worse with or without food. Its simply the case that food in the stomach helps reduce side effects of the medication, such as bloating, stomach ache or diarrhea.
With that said, it is important to aim for a relative consistency with carbohydrates. Here at DMP, we encourage people to consume a low carb diet because research shows its one of the most beneficial diets for producing outcomes lower blood sugar, A1c, cholesterol etc. So be aware that if youre cutting back on carbs, your numbers are obviously going to be lower, thats a great consequence of eating lower carb people gain much better control of their numbers! But in most cases, those numbers shouldnt go so low as to cause hypoglycemia.
However, if youre taking insulin, you do need to be more cautious and aware when reducing carbs because you may need to adjust your dosage to prevent hypoglycemia.
For more information on how metformin works, read this information.
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My Perspective On A1c As A Person Living With Diabetes
I have a very ambivalent relationship with my A1c myself. Ive been living with type 1 diabetes for over 20 years, and my A1c is not something I think about in my daily life. However, every three months when I see my endo, I get a little anxious because receiving your A1c can feel a lot like getting your diabetes report card.
And, quite honestly, thats really silly. My A1c number doesnt reflect whats been going on in my life for the last three months. It doesnt tell me how much effort Ive put into managing my diabetes and it does not define me as a person. Its a good source of information, nothing more.
Still, we tend to look at it and judge, good or bad, how weve done with our diabetes management. But we really shouldnt!
That doesnt mean that I think we shouldnt get our A1c checked. I absolutely think we should, but we also need to understand what it means as well as why we should look beyond the A1c number. I hope this guide has given you the knowledge and tools to do so!
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Who Should Not Take Metformin
There are a few people for whom Metformin is contraindicated:
- If you are having an X-Ray or CT scan requiring dyes, you will have to temporarily stop taking Metformin
- Because Metformin is cleared by the kidneys, it is contraindicated in kidney disease
- Because Metformin works in the liver, it is contraindicated in liver disease
- In rare cases, Metformin can cause a life threatening condition called lactic acidosis
As with all medications, whether to take metformin should be a shared decision between you and your physician.
Remember to discuss your goals, current blood sugar control , family history, length of time you have been diagnosed, and any symptoms you may have.
Keeping a diary/log of medications and symptoms along with a food and glucose journal is very helpful in troubleshooting and making informed decisions regarding your health care in the future.
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How Can I Lower My Blood Sugar Without Metformin
4.4/5You may be able to successfully lower and manage your blood sugar without medication by making lifestyle changes such as the following:
Here are 15 easy ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally:
Similarly, how much will metformin lower my blood sugar? Metformin is very effective at controlling blood glucose and lowers A1c levels by as much as 1.5% at maximum doses. By itself, metformin does not usually cause low blood glucose.
Similarly, what happens if you take metformin and don’t need it?
Less common side effectsIn some people, metformin causes blood glucose levels to drop too low, and the medical term for this is hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is more likely to occur if a person is taking insulin as well as metformin. Certain people taking metformin may also have a risk of kidney damage.
Is there a good substitute for metformin?
Three new treatments for type 2 diabetes have been recommended by NICE, for patients who cannot use metformin, sulfonylurea or pioglitazone. The treatments are also suitable for patients who are not controlling their blood glucose levels with diet and exercise alone, to manage their condition.
Does Metformin Cause Serious Side Effects
Metformin can cause minor side effects such as nausea , stomach upset and runny poos . These are quite common when you first start taking metformin and usually go away with time. Starting on a low dose and building up gradually, and taking metformin with food can reduce these side effects.In most people metformin is very safe and well tolerated. Very rarely people get serious side effects, as described below. Get medical help as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms.
- Shakiness, dizziness, sweating, hunger, irritability and moodiness this could be a sign of hypoglycaemia . Hypoglycaemia is most likely to occur if you delay or miss a meal or snack, drink alcohol, exercise more than usual or can’t eat because of nausea or vomiting. It is also likely to happen if you are taking other medicines for diabetes with metformin.
- Skin rash, itching, wheezing or trouble breathing or swallowing, or swelling of the face this could be an allergic reaction.
- Very bad stomach upset: usually stomach upset only happens at the beginning of treatment. If you get this later then this can indicate a bad side effect. Also please get medical help immediately if the pain is very bad.
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Makes The Body More Sensitive To Insulin
Metformin is known as an insulin sensitizer. What exactly does that mean?
Insulin is a hormone your body produces to move sugar out of your blood and into cells. By doing this, insulin helps your cells get the energy they need so they can do their jobs. When there is too much sugar in the blood, cells arent able to absorb sugar as well as they should, which leads to sugar buildup in the blood. This is known as insulin resistance and can lead to diabetes.
As an insulin sensitizer, metformin helps decrease insulin resistance. Cells are able to absorb and use sugar more effectively, which reduces the amount of sugar in your blood.
How To Use Metformin
Many people have heard of Glucophage and wonder how its related to metformin. The answer? Its a brand name version of metformin. Other brand name formulations include Fortamet, Riomet, and Glumetza.
In addition to immediate-release tablets and liquids that are usually taken twice a day, there are extended-release formulations you only take once daily. Your healthcare provider will usually start you on a low dose and gradually build up to the strength that best controls your blood sugars .
People wonder if it is better to take metformin at night or in the morning. If you are taking metformin twice a day, take it with your breakfast and dinner. For those taking it only once daily, most people take it in the evening. However, the most important thing is to take it consistentlywith your biggest mealat the same time every day.
If you skip a dose, take it as soon as you remember however, if it is almost time for the next pill, do not take a double dose to make up for the missed one .
Be sure to take it as directed. If youre dealing with diarrhea or other side effects, remember these usually resolve within two weeks or so after adjusting a dosage. Do not just stop taking metformin on your own. Metformin controls diabetes but does not cure it, and you should not stop taking it without talking to your healthcare provider.
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What Is Metformin Used For
Metformin is commonly used to help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. For most, metformin works to bring down blood sugar gradually when combined with a healthy diet and exercise . Its not so much a quick fix with overnight results as it is an important component of a larger health regimen that keeps the condition manageable.
List Of Diabetes Medications That Cause Stomach Cancer
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What Are Biguanides For Diabetes Metformin For Diabetes
They could come back if your doctor raises your dose. Taking metformin with food can help. While doctors used to avoid prescribing this drug to people whove had kidney trouble, it may be OK for someone with mild or moderate kidney disease . When you use metformin for a long time, it could lower the amount of vitamin B-12 in your body too much. Your doctor may want to check your B-12 level, especially if you have anemia or nerve damage in your feet or hands . One large study has linked long-term metformin use to higher chances of getting Alzheimers dementia and Parkinsons disease . But we need more research to understand the connection better and what it means. Some people who take metformin can get a lactic acid buildup in their blood. Its rare and more likely to happen if you:Continue reading > >
When You Have Low Blood Sugar
First, eat or drink 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate, such as:
- Three to four glucose tablets
- One tube of glucose gel
- Four to six pieces of hard candy
- 1/2 cup fruit juice
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1/2 cup soft drink
- 1 tablespoon honey
Fifteen minutes after you’ve eaten a food with sugar in it, check your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar is still less than 70 mg/dL, eat another serving of one of the foods listed above. Repeat these steps until your sugar becomes normal.
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The Downside Of Metformin
Despite its perks, there are some precautions to take when starting Metformin.
The main side effect is gastrointestinal upsets.
Unfortunately Metformin can cause nausea, stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, and other GI upsets in about one third of people. The good news is that this generally goes away within a couple days or 2 weeks at most.
This GI upset is simply the body adjusting to the medication and in most cases, incrementing slowly per physician and pharmacy recommendation will help to minimize upset. It also helps if you take it at the same time daily with meals.
Be aware that poor blood sugar control itself can also cause GI distress, so optimizing your diet is key as well. If symptoms havent waned after a week or 2 of taking Metformin, contact your physicians office to see if there is a better option to consider.
Its also worth considering that in time, as you get you maintain better blood glucose control through diet and lifestyle, you may be able to reduce or stop taking Metformin altogether as demonstrated in this case study.
Another thing to note is that Metformin can cause B12 deficiency over time. If youve been taking Metformin for several years, it is advisable to get a B12 blood test. This deficiency can easily be corrected through supplementation.
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