Metformin Side Effects

Metformin offers many benefits, especially for people with Type 2 Diabetes. However, there are also some side effects to consider.

Metformin Side Effects

Losing weight and consuming a healthy diet may not be the best solution for managing diabetes, especially if you’re blood sugar is too high. In cases like this, prescription medications are highly advised. One of the medications that are commonly prescribed is Metformin. Learn about the Metformin side effects, its dosages, and its interactions with other drugs. Plus, the ways to prevent the side effects of this diabetes drug.

What Is Metformin?

Approved by the USFDA, Metformin is a recommended drug as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. It comes in either an oral solution or an oral tablet. As for the oral form, it comes in two varieties: extended-release and immediate-release. Metformin helps increase the effect of insulin on the body, decrease the glucose absorbed by the body, and reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver. The usual brand names of Metformin include Riomet, Glucophage XR, Glucophage, Glumetza, and Fortamet.

Type 2 Diabetes: What Is It?

It is the most common form of diabetes. This is also called non-insulin dependent or adult-onset diabetes. Compared to type 1 diabetes where the body does not produce insulin, type 2 diabetes has a problem with processing insulin. On the other hand, insulin is a hormone which removes the extra sugar in the blood.

This condition results in an increase in glucose in the blood. Also, this form of diabetes is diagnosed in individuals who are not physically active and are either obese or overweight.

What Are the Benefits of Metformin?

According to the American Diabetes Association, Metformin is the “first line of defense” for individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Here are just a few benefits of the drug.

  • Affordable
  • Does Not Strain the Organs
  • Does Not Cause Hypoglycemia (If Insulin Injections Not Taken)
  • Increases insulin sensitivity
  • Reduces one’s appetite which may lead to weight loss
  • Decreases the amount of sugar made by the liver
  • Diminishes the amount of sugar absorbed from food
  • Lessens the level of cholesterol

What Are the Dosages?

Do take note, however, that the dosages depend on your physician’s prescription. The dosage taken depend on your age, weight, and blood sugar level.

For Adults

o   Immediate-Release Tablets: 500, 850, 1000 mg

o   Extended-Release Tablets: 500, 750, 1000 mg

o   Oral Solution: 500, 750, 1000 mg

For Children

o   Immediate-Release Tablets: 500, 850, 1000 mg

o   Extended-Release Tablets: 500, 750, 1000 mg

o   Oral Solution: 500, 750, 1000 mg

Drug Interactions With Metformin

This drug interacts with a number of medications. Drug interactions cause a variety of effects. So, to avoid drug interactions, it is best to inform your physician as well as a pharmacist about the prescription drugs and non-prescription drugs that you are taking. Some of the drugs that interact with the effects of Metformin include the following:

  • Other Diabetes Drugs. These include insulin and other drugs that discharges insulin. One example is Glyburide.
  • Drugs for Blood Pressure Maintenance. Calcium-channel blockers and diuretics are prescribed to lower blood pressure. While diuretics affect the effectivity of Metformin, calcium-channel blockers increase its amount.
  • Drugs for Cholesterol. Much like diuretics, drugs used to control cholesterol may cause Metformin to be less in effect.
  • Drugs for Glaucoma. Lactic acidosis is one side effect of Metformin with symptoms of such being stomach pains, difficulty breathing, and confusion. Drugs that treat glaucoma and are taken along with Metformin heighten the risk for this side effect.
  • Drugs for Treatment of Nerve Pain. One example is Topiramate which again causes lactic acidosis. This paired with Metformin increases the risk for such side effect.
  • Drugs for Thyroid. Certain drugs used to treat problems with the thyroid may cause Metformin to be ineffective at lowering the glucose in the blood.

Hormone drugs and phenothiazines are also medications that make Metformin ineffective at reducing glucose in the blood. As mentioned, advise your attending physician of medications you are currently on before he or she prescribes Metformin.

What Are the Metformin Side Effects?

Some of the common side effects that may manifest with Metformin are the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Pain in Stomach

Such effects are minor and usually go away after a few weeks. However, if they become severe or continue even after a few weeks, then it is best to talk to your attending physician right away.

On that note, here are some of the severe side effects of Metformin. It is advised that you head to the hospital for immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following signs.

  • A Headache
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness or Dizziness
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Either fast or slow heart rate
  • Feeling Jittery
  • Hunger and Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Sleepiness
  • Stomach Pains
  • Sweating
  • Tiredness or Lightheadedness
  • Unusual Pains in Muscles

How to Reduce the Side Effects of Metformin

As stomach pains are common when one takes Metformin, there are a number of things to do to alleviate or prevent it. Some of these include the following.

  1. Do not take it on an empty stomach

Take your prescribed dose during a meal rather than taking it before a meal. A few patients claimed a reduction in stomach distress after doing so.

  1. Start small

Talk to your physician regarding your dosage. He or she may be able to decrease or adjust the dose. This way your body can adjust to the drug which will most likely reduce the side effects.

  1. Try the extended-release form

An extended-release form introduces a certain dose over the period of intake. This causes a significant reduction in the side effects on the stomach. Ask your physician to change your current dose to an extended-release.

  1. Try another drug

Other than Metformin, there are a variety of other drugs for the treatment of diabetes. Speak with your healthcare provider and ask for medications that could help improve and maintain your blood glucose levels.

If the Metformin side effects continue to be a problem for you, then consult with your doctor for other alternatives. There are numerous medications for the treatment of diabetes that won’t cause the unwanted side effects as with Metformin. There’s certain to be another drug to help you lower the level of sugar in your blood.

Metformin Side Effects

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *