Side Effects of Metformin – Why Doctors In The Know No Longer Prescribe Metformin
Metformin is one of the most prescribed drugs on the planet with over 120 million people taking it for diabetes management, but that doesn’t mean it’s the most popular.
This article will explain shocking Metformin Interactions and Metformin Side Effects: Common, Severe, Long Term
Unfortunately, metformin also has one of the lowest “patient adherence” rates, because of its side effects which can appear within hours of taking your first dose. While there are actually many positive qualities about this drug compared to other diabetes medications, metformin side effects can be remarkably uncomfortable, disrupting your daily life.
In this Metformin Side Effects article, we’ll look at how metformin works, the most common side effects, how to alleviate those side-effects, and why it’s the most prescribed despite causing so much discomfort for patients.
What is metformin?
Metformin, also known under the brand name “Glucophage,” is an oral diabetes medication in the “biguanide” drug class, first introduced in 1957 to treat type 2 diabetes and improve blood sugar control.
It works by reducing the amount of sugar your liver releases throughout the day, and it increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin.
It can also reduce the amount of glucose that is absorbed from the food you eat, which in turn reduces your blood sugar levels after eating.
Benefits of metformin
Metformin is often considered the “first line of defense” for a patient newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes despite metformin interactions, explains the American Diabetes Association.
The biggest benefit of metformin is the fact that it does not directly cause hypoglycemia; however when paired with other diabetes medications that do lower blood sugar, metformin could result in low blood sugar until those other medication doses are reduced to compensate.
Here are all of the known benefits of metformin:
- It increases your sensitivity to insulin
- It reduces the amount of glucose produced by your liver
- It reduces the amount of glucose absorbed from the food you eat
- It doesn’t put additional strain on your organs
- It doesn’t cause weight gain
- It’s very affordable
- It doesn’t cause hypoglycemia (unless combined with other diabetes medications like insulin)
- It can reduce your appetite
- Reduced appetite can lead to weight-loss
- It can lower your cholesterol levels
The most appreciated quality of metformin is that it does not cause hypoglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes who are not taking insulin injections, because it does not increase your insulin production like many other diabetes medications.
While it was designed for people with type 2 diabetes, people with type 1 diabetes struggling with severe insulin resistance can take it for, too. However, when used by patients taking it “off-label” for type 1 diabetes, it could lead to hypoglycemia because it would decrease your needs for insulin via injection or pump.
This would be managed by working with your healthcare team to adjust your insulin doses.
Metformin does have several common side effects. Like almost all medicatio, Metformin will affect different people in different ways.
The following lists details Metformin side effects, but this does not mean that all people taking Metformin will experience any or all of the following side effects.
To make it easier to understand the frequency of the side effects of Metformi, we have divided them by how often they occur.
Metformin Interactions, Metformin Side Effects – Metformin Long Term Side Effects in Men and Women
Very common – Affecting over 2 in 10 people taking Metformin
- Disturbance to the gut
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
COMMON – AFFECTING BETWEEN 1 IN 10 AND 1 IN 100 PEOPLE TAKING METFORMIN
- Taste disturbance, usually a metallic taste
VERY RARE – AFFECTING UNDER 10 IN 10,000 PEOPLE TAKING METFORMIN
- Elevated levels of lactic acid in the blood (lactic acidosis)
- Decreased absorption of vitamin B12 during long-term use
- Skin reactions such as rash, itching or flushing
To find out more about metformin interactions and Metformin side effects, people with diabetes should discuss the medication with their doctor and read the information provided by the manufacturer.
The list of side effects above does not purport to be a full list of all recognised side effects of Metformin.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I EXPERIENCE METFORMIN SIDE EFFECTS?
All medicines take some getting used to. You should speak to your doctor if any of the side effects become troublesome or painful.
If you find your breathing is being affected, along with drowsiness, dizziness and confusion you should stop taking Metformin at once and seek urgent medical attention.
These are the symptoms of lactic acidosis, a rare but very serious condition that can be caused by Metformin.
Reducing metformin side effects and Metformin Interactions
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to alleviate, lessen, or altogether prevent the stomach distress caused by metformin.
Take your dose during your meal, not before
The first is to take your metformin dose halfway through eating your meal rather than before you start eating. Patients report far less stomach distress if there is already food within their stomach by the time their metformin dose is being digested, too.
Start with a very small dose
By starting with an extremely small dose, instead of the full dose your doctor would normally prescribe for your height and weight, you may be able to drastically reduce those initially uncomfortable side effects. Talk to your doctor about adjusting your doses in order to give your body time to acclimate to the drug.
Ask for the “extended release” version
Too often, doctors prescribe the regular version without any consideration of the extended-release (ER) version. By taking the ER version, each dose is being introduced over the course of hours and hours versus all at once, which significantly reduces the unwanted gastric side effects. While it does cost more, it could greatly metformin’s side-effects.
However, you will need to try the regular version first. This is so your doctor can tell your insurance company you tried it, and it wasn’t the right medication for you. Then they will be more likely to cover the more extended “ER” version.
Combine it with other diabetes medications
If you and your healthcare team intend to start you on a GLP-1 drug like Victoza or Byetta, the side-effects of metformin can actually give balance to the constipation side effects of most GLP-1 drugs. By taking both drugs as part of your diabetes management plan, the side-effects of both drugs essentially balance each other out.
Try something else – Top Rated Solution for Everyone
Again, due to metformin interactions, there are simply some people who do not tolerate metformin. See our Top Recommended High Blood Sugar Fix Supplement with No record of Side Effects. If you find you cannot bear to endure the side effects, talk to your healthcare team. If you choose to stop taking metformin, your healthcare team can help you find a different type of diabetes medication to improve your blood sugar levels.
You shouldn’t take metformin if…
Like most medications, there are a few types of patients who shouldn’t take metformin. For metformin, the concern is based largely around the fact that it can raise your risk of producing too much lactic acid. Clearing that lactic acid from your body requires healthy organ function!
If you have diagnosed kidney or liver issues: Your liver and your kidneys both play a critical role in clearing metformin from your body. If your kidneys or liver are already struggling to function, you wouldn’t want to add to their workload by taking metformin.
If you have had a heart attack or acute heart failure: Serious heart conditions can affect how much blood is pumped to your kidneys, which can reduce your overall kidney function. Because the kidneys play a crucial role in clearing metformin from your body, patients with a history of heart issues should not take metformin.
Metformin Side Effects – Why Doctors In The Know No Longer Prescribe Metformin
The makers of Metformin, one of several drugs Dr. Merritt’s natural regimen would replace, had no comment. All diabetes drug sales are expected to reach $32 billion in 2017, according to industry analyst, Morder Intelligence.
Dr. Merritt says “Diabetics need to know about this safer option.”
To get the word out, she partnered with the independent health publisher, Primal Health, to make her diabetes reversing regimen available in an online presentation.
Unsurprisingly, many in the pharmaceutical industry have taken issue with the presentation’s drug-free emphasis, but many doctors who have wished for a natural, drug-free treatment to share with their diabetic patients have been quick to embrace it.
Dr. Merritt herself cautions viewers to exercise common sense and only go off your medication with the approval of your doctor. Watch the shocking VIDEO below on Why Doctors In The Know No Longer Prescribe Metformin!