Metformin is an orally-administered medicine intended to treat diabetes by controlling sugar levels in blood.It is a treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes which is non-insulin dependent. It is occasionally administered in conjunction with insulin or other medicines. Metformin is not intended to treat type 1 diabetes.
Metformin may serve other purposes not found in this medication guide.
The tablet is now regarded as the most recommended antidiabetic prescription medicine in the world.
In 2010, almost 50 million Metfromin prescriptions were issued in the United States only because of its curative formulations.
Important information about metformin
People with allergic reactions to Metformin are not allowed to this kind of treatment. The same is true if your diabetes is in ketoacidosis state, in which case insulin treatment is necessary.
It’s important to notify your doctor about your liver condition or if in case you have a heart disease history, before you take Metformin.
Lactic acidosis may be occur while taking Metformin. The condition can be life threatening if initial symptoms are not remedied in due time. Hospital attention must be sought if a few of these mild symptoms appear like numbness, dizziness and vomiting, unstable blood pressure, stress, stomach and muscle pains and difficulty in breathing.
A few tests were conducted to document how Metformin affects or treats type 2 diabetes. The medicine was proven to lower hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and fasting blood sugar. As a test, HbA1c is conducted to gauge continuing control of blood sugar in diabetes patients. People with no diabetes have about at least 6 percent HbA1c levels which are just normal; diabetes patients have greater levels in this regard.
Reminder prior to taking Metformin
As previously mentioned, a fatal condition known as lactic acidosis may be induced on few people while medicating with Metformin. You are more prone to this condition if you have major organ diseases, or when you get dehydrated, or when you drink too much alcohol. Consult a doctor about your personal risk.
You won’t be allowed to undergo Metformin medication if you have allergies to the said medicine. Similarly, you would rather see a doctor for insulin treatment rather than take the drug if you have ketoacidosis.
In order to ascertain if taking Metformin is safe for you, disclose your medical history to your doctor.
Methods of Storing Metformin
The medicine should be kept at dry and room temperature. Keep the tablets in an airtight bottle.
Keep the drug and other medicines beyond children’s reach.
If I Missed A Dose of Metformin, What Should I Do?
If you missed a dose in medication’s schedule, take your next dosage as soon as possible. If the time for your dose is so close to the next, don’t take the missed dose and go on with the standard schedule. Never take two doses at the same time.
10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Metformin
1. Metformin can stop the progression of pre-diabetes to Type 2 diabetes. Through its use, along with proper diet and exercise, this one of a kind drug can do wonders.
2. Metformin can possibly help solve weight loss problems. The substance allows the cells in the body become more sensitive towards insulin, allowing the body to use less insulin for the transport of sugar as well as fat. Similar drugs like Avandia (rosiglitazone) and Actos (pioglitazone) also provide the same effects, but they possess a side effect that promotes fat cell development.
3. The smell of Metformin might be a problem to you as most Type 2 diabetic patients complain that its odour is similar to mothballs or raw fish. What you can do is to remove the dose of the Metformin you will be taking and leave it out of the bottle for about five minutes to remove the unwanted odour.
4. A side effect of Metformin is vitamin B12 deficiency, which occurs due to long-term use of the substance. To avoid this side effect while continuously using Metformin for an extended period, you can take vitamin B supplements regularly to ensure you won’t become vitamin B12 deficient.
5. Magnesium deficiency is also another possible side effect of prolonged Metformin intake. Regular intake of minimal doses of magnesium supplement is advised, which is equivalent to less than 100 milligrams of magnesium thrice per day. You can also choose to increase the amount of green leafy vegetables in your diet as they contain adequate amounts of magnesium. Avoid over dosage of magnesium as well as Metformin as this causes diarrhoea.
6. Teenagers suffering from Type 2 diabetes can be effectively treated with Metformin. Together with regular exercise, teenagers can expect significant loss of excess body fat without worrying about stunted growth and hormonal development.
7. The body’s insulin resistance, which can be caused by MSG or monosodium glutamate, can be moderately equalized by Metformin. MSG is commonly added as flavouring in prepared foods, bouillon cubes, canned soups, frozen dinners, and broths. To save on money and to ensure you are eating healthy, you should choose to just cook your own meals.
8. Not all people suffering diabetes are allowed to use Metformin. Your doctor will not advise you to take this drug if you are suffering from PAD or peripheral arterial disease or any kind of disorder related to blood clotting to avoid increased clot risks.
9. Both Metformin and Glucophage contain the same chemicals. However, there are diabetics who respond more positively with Glucophage. The Glucophage-XR is a time-release version of metformin. This costs about US$100 to $200 per month more than Metformin. This particular version is greatly beneficial for diabetics that are able to successfully control their meals. If you are the type that tends to overeat, this version won’t be able to provide you with any blood sugar control benefits.
10. Go ask your doctor for an increased dosage of Metformin if you are advised to take other medications than insulin and are taking less than 850 milligrams of Metformin thrice per day. You can save thousands of dollars per year when you choose to use Metformin instead of other more expensive medications as they can both provide you with the same blood sugar controlling effects.
Metformin Side Effects and Warning Signs
Metformin is the only prescription drug which is classified as a Biguanide. It is used in managing Type II diabetes when the body’s high blood sugar levels are not properly controlled through exercise and diet, and in some cases, some patients use Metformin along with other anti-diabetic drugs like glyburide and insulin. Metformin helps in reducing the amount of sugar or glucose that is produced by the liver so as for the body to have normal levels. The drug also helps to increase sensitivity to insulin, making the body to use it in an effective way which is especially helpful in cases of insulin resistance.
Metformin has produced good results in diabetic patients as it helps in reducing the blood insulin levels from the reduction in the absorption of carbohydrates through the intestines. It reduces the rate at which the liver produces glucose and increases the sensitivity of the muscle cells to insulin. All is not about good news. There are different Metformin side effects that people have experienced from time to time, and they vary from individual to another because of different body factors.
Some of the most common Metformin side effects are:
• Abnormal stools
• Changes in taste
• Muscle pain
• Difficulty breathing
• Lightheadedness or dizziness
• Nail problems
• Flu-like symptoms such as muscle pain, fever, chills, and weakness
• Feelings of a rapidly or forcefully beating heart (heart palpitations).
• Flushing (a skin reddening, commonly on the face)
• Increased sweating
• Increased thirst
Other important Metformin side effects are:
1. Signs of allergic reaction, including unexplained skin itching, rash, wheezing, or difficulty in breathing, hives, or unexplained swelling.
2. Metformin can cause electrolyte disturbances which make the body to function in an acidic environment. This is regarded as Lactic Acidosis, which can be sudden and severe. Lactic acidosis takes place when there is increased level of lactic acid in the body of the diabetes patient when the drug is used in inhibiting the process of hepatic gluconeogenesis (the process that produces glucose). It also reduces the intake of lactate by the liver. The problem can easily be experienced when an individual who is having kidney problems or impaired renal functions takes the drug. The drug and lactate will then build up to cause lactic acidosis, but the incidence is just 10 in every 100,000 people, a significantly lower number, which may cause people to be worried.
3.Metformin may also cause the reduction in the absorption of Vitamin B12. Around 7 out of 100 patients are likely to experience a reduced level of Vitamin B12, but the good thing is that the doctor can easily monitor the levels to know whether or not Vitamin B12 injections would be necessary.
4. Metformin can also cause impaired kidney and liver functions. This always happens when the patient takes an overdose of the drug, causing the weakness of the liver for excess dealing with the drug. The same thing will also happen to the kidney. In extreme cases, it is possible for the kidney and liver to stop working completely, leading to a lot of complications in the patient.
5. The drug is also capable of affecting the level of certain hormones in the body. For instance, and overdose may lead to a reduction in the blood levels of thyroid-stimulating hormones, especially if the individual has a history of suffering from hypothyroidism. It can also cause a reduction of the blood level in testosterone and luteinizing hormones found in men.
Can Diabetes Lead to Heart problems?
One of the fatal complications that can be caused by Type 2 Diabetes is heart disease. Oftentimes, Metformin will be the drug of choice for the pre-treatment and the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. The Journal Circulation and Heart Failure recently published an article about how Metformin is able to also prevent death from heart disease caused by diabetes.
A study made at Baylor College of Medicine done by researchers and Michael E. DeBakey of VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas involved 6,185 Type 2 Diabetes patients who have heart failure. Twenty five percent of these patients were treated with Metformin. The research concluded with the following results:
• After a two-year period, 15.8% or 246 patients who were treated with Metformin died.
• After a two-year period, 25.5% or 1177 patients who were not treated with Metformin died.
Both of the groups that were part of the research had the same total rate of hospitalization due to heart failure as well as the rate of hospitalization. However, diabetic patients with heart failures that have undergone Metformin treatment had a higher chance of survival. The study concluded with the need for more related studies in order to discover effective therapies for patients that are diagnosed with both Type 2 Diabetes and heart failure.
Metformin is also known as Glucophage, Glumetza, or Fortamet in the market. These are brand names of Metformin that provide less side effects. Metformin belongs to a family of drugs known as biguanides, these are drugs that are effective in the regulation and he control of the insulin levels that are released by the liver. Other important facts about the drug include the following:
• Also known as insulin-sensitizing drugs, they help prevent the fluctuation of glucose between meals allowing effective weight loss.
• They also limit the total amount of insulin that comes from the pancreas instead of increasing it.
• The amount of glucose coming from the small intestines and liver that enters the blood is also effectively minimized.
Type 2 Diabetes is known to promote insulin resistance. Biguances like Metformin attack the origin of the disease. In general, Metformin is a safe medication. However, there are rare instances where patients who take the drug develop lactic acidosis, which is a serious condition.
Ten to Thirty percent of Metformin users report that they experience gastrointestinal side effects, which subside overtime. If you experience a similar side effect that does stays long, you can consult your doctor for the administration of a lower dose. Other versions of Metformin such as Fortamet and Glumetza are known to have fewer side effects.
Individuals who are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and have kidney, liver, or heart problems, including those who drink too much alcohol, are not advised to use Metformin.
Metformin should be taken regularly to be able to achieve its positive effects. However, there are some instances where its use should be discontinued temporarily. If you are suffering from severe diarrhoea, fever, vomiting, in need of less than normal fluid intake, you should alert doctors as they might advise to discontinue Metformin use temporarily. If you are undergoing X-ray procedures, you should also let your doctor know or ask beforehand if using Metformin when undergoing an X-ray scan is advisable.
Metformin is a popular choice as it is generically available and is cheaper than most drugs available for the successful treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.
How Does Heart Attack Survivors Respond to Taking Metformin?
A study was made in the Cardiology Unit of the Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute in Sweden, which involved a group of researchers that aimed to discover how heart attack survivors that were diagnosed with diabetes respond to different types of treatments. On February 2011, the results of their findings were published in a journal named Diabetologia.
Included in the study were 1,145 patients that were diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and had also suffered and survived a heart attack. These patients where divided into three different groups.
1. The first group where administered with insulin
2. The second group where administered with insulin along with conventional treatment
3. The third group were only provided with conventional treatment for 2.1 years
All of the patients were monitored at an average of 4.1 years. The study showed that the number of fatal heart attacks during the monitoring period was the same in the three groups. However, non-fatal heart attack rates differed. The highest rate of heart attacks that were non-fatal was in the group treated with insulin. The group who received conventional treatment had the lowest risk in death from cancer while the group that were administered with Metformin both had low risks in death from heart attack and from cancer compared to the other patients from the other groups.
Metformin, which is available in tablet form and is commonly known as Fortamet, Glucophage, or Glucophage CR is used to lower blood sugar levels. Individuals diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes commonly use it and it can also be used to prevent the acquisition of Type 2 Diabetes for those who have high risk in acquiring it. A study done in Canada shows that the use of both Avandia and Metformin helped decrease the risk of diabetes in volunteers who were pre-diabetic.
This medicine is commonly taken once, twice, or three times per day depending on your doctor’s prescription. A dosage of 500 milligrams twice per day or 850 milligrams once per day is the usual dose. Moreover, the dosage can be increased gradually mainly depending on how the blood sugar levels in the body react to the dosage.
The following effects are caused by the regular intake of Metformin:
• The intestinal absorption of sugar is lessened
• Insulin released by the pancreas is increased
• Sugar production in the liver is decreased
• Muscles and fat cells respond to insulin and efficiently take in the needed sugar.
In general, Metformin is considered safe to use, but it can also provide some side effects to someof its users. The most serious side effect that can be caused is lactic acidosis, which will have the following symptoms:
• cool or bluish skin
• fatigue and muscle pains
• dizziness , sleepiness, or nausea
• difficulty in breathing / fast shallow breathing
• irregular or slow heartbeats
• pain in the abdominal area
• diarrhoea or vomiting
Although it is a rare case, Metformin might also cause hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar. This condition often occurs when Metformin is used along other anti-diabetic drugs. Symptoms of hypoglycaemia include unexplainable hunger, tingling sensations in the hands and feet, sweating, involuntary shaking, and heartbeat.
Patients that have kidney problems should use Metformin cautiously as the body excretes it through urine. It is advised that patients, especially the elderly should first take some tests to determine their kidney functions and whether the medication is safe for use. Patients who will also undergo X-ray procedures are advised to temporarily stop taking Metformin for a few days before they undergo the X-ray scan.