What is Metformin?

Often doctors prescribe metformin for type 2 diabetes. Apart from being very effective, safe and affordable, it is known for not putting weight as a side effect or giving stress on internal organs. Unlike insulin, metformin takes four to five days to lower the blood sugar level. Though it’s not able to solve all the diabetic problems it remains beneficial.

About Metformin

There are several trade names of metformin. Some of them are Fortamet, Glucophage, Riomet, and Glumetza. Metformin belongs to the biguanides class of drugs. The drug mainly helps in the inhibition of glucose production in the liver.

The medicine is so used as it decreases the insulin levels in our body and also lessens the production and absorption of sugar in the body. All this process of lowering glucose production or lowering the blood sugar level is done by metformin while increasing the sensitivity of the body to insulin. It too lowers the glucose amount absorbed from food by our body.

Generally, metformin works well if it is taken properly along with a healthy diet. Exercise too enhances the actions of metformin. Though the results that you desire may not come within a night or day, it manages to provide a good result with time.

Side Effects

Metformin can cause little side effects especially to the ones who are taking it for the first time. Generally, the side effects are not very serious and are very mild. However, knowing about the side effects is always essential. The common side effects of using metformin are gastric problems like gas, stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, etc. it may also cause nausea sometimes.

  • Doctors sometimes prescribe low doses of metformin to avoid gastric problems. It too helps in acclimatization of the body with the medicine slowly. It starts with five hundred milligrams a day at first and it continues for several weeks. Later the dose is increased to one thousand five hundred milligrams daily. However, if started with a low dose then the benefits can be noticed, occurring at a slower pace.
  • Gastric problems due to metformin intake are very much related to the number of carbs we intake every day. If we lessen the number of carbs from our diet then the gastric problems may get reduced readily. Using an up to the dated version of metformin also can reduce the side effects.
  • Hypoglycemia which is also known as low blood sugar can be enhanced by metformin which is risky. It affects those who intake drugs and insulin. It results in an increase in insulin secretion like sulfonylurea.

Metformin becomes risky if combined with the intake of excessive alcohol. To have a regular check on the blood sugar level in your body which is necessary to avoid and prevent any episodes of the low blood sugar level, always use a blood sugar meter.

Metformin results in lactic acidosis or the accumulation of lactic acid in the body which is very risky.

Supplementing our body with vitamin B12 through our diet can help us as sometimes having metformin on a long term basis can restrict vitamin B12 absorption resulting in anemia.

This drug does have a black box warning which alerts patients and doctors about the effects of the drug.

However, in most cases, the side effects are mild and short-lived.

Faux Low

Faux low mainly occurs when the blood sugar level drops to normal after being at high range for a long period of time. Our body often reacts to this situation like that of hypoglycemia. It may happen with any kind of medication or therapy or sudden low carb intake. Often people feel shaky, tired, dizzy, lightheaded, extremely hungry and nauseous. In cases where you feel tired, always check the sugar level in your body and carry on with your medication without stopping. This faux low situation can be avoided by having non-carbohydrate, high-sodium snacks as well. Also having more carb in this situation won’t help.

However, whenever you feel tired and dizzy always check the blood sugar in your body as it may happen that the blood sugar level has really gone down and immediate medication is necessary.

Benefits of Metformin

Metformin is an affordable medicine that is very good for first-line therapy. There are other benefits of this medicine apart from treating type 2 diabetes. Researchers are finding the scope of metformin in the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions, cancer, macular degeneration, gestational diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, heart diseases, and aging.

  • Metformin helps in lowering appetite though it’s still not confirmed, people using the medicine show weight loss sometimes.  
  • Metformin can be useful for patients of type 1 diabetes too and often doctors prescribe this to the type 1 diabetic patients. Doctors do prescribe metformin to type 1 diabetes as it helps in glucose production in the liver as well as it can be effective for those who are sensitive to insulin.
  • Thus metformin is good medicine and as the side effects are very mild and manageable it is very much recommended.